Even as the incidence of breast cancer among Indian women has risen in the last 25 years, following an accurate diet plan and making physical activity as part of your daily schedule can help lower the risk of developing the disease.
A recent study of breast cancer risk in India showed that one in 28 women acquires breast cancer in her lifetime. However, the number is higher in urban areas (one in 22) compared to rural areas (one in 60). Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide.
Hence, below are five important things that young women should know about breast cancer:
Breast self-exams (BSE): Doing breast self-exam may help you in taking care of your breast health. If you choose to do but have not done it yet, talk to your doctor for help. Although there is no evidence on the effect of screening through breast self-examination, the practice of BSE has been seen to empower women, taking responsibility for their own health.
Clinical breast exams (CBE)/mammography screening: Both clinical breast exams and mammograms are important. Mammograms usually done at age 40, but experts say they can be defective, particularly in women with dense breast. So, an annual clinical breast exam from a doctor should be carried out. While, clinical breast exam is crucial for detecting inflammatory breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is often detected by mammograms. Therefore, both screenings are equally important.
Exercise: Exercise and physical activity is important for health and well-being. It is believed that women who exercise has a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Studies found that women who have an active life and exercise regularly have fewer chances of getting breast cancer by as much as 30 percent as compared to inactive women.
Alcohol: Studies have shown that women who drink alcohol regularly, even moderate amount have an increased risk of breast cancer, especially in young women.
Sunlight: According to Canadian researchers, natural sunlight, which is the best source of vitamin D can lower breast cancer risk. Laboratory test suggest breast cells can convert vitamin D to a hormone that has anti-cancer properties. However, one should avoid overexposure to sun to prevent developing skin cancer.
Compiled by: Salome Phelamei