The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared breast cancer as the number one cancer scourge afflicting human beings! One in eight women are at risk of having breast cancer in their lifetime, (a diagnosis of breast cancer is made every other minute)! Wow! And here in Nigeria, most of the diagnoses are made when it is too late, thereby leading to several needless and painful deaths of our beloved moms, sisters, aunts, friends and colleagues.
It has been said that one or two in every 25 Nigerian women are at risk of breast cancer, which makes breast cancer currently the most common cancer in Nigeria. In many cases, there are no obvious symptoms at all, which makes it difficult to detect and by the time it becomes obvious, it is almost always too late and may lead to death.
Studies have proven that Breast Self Examinations (BSE) significantly improve the early detection of breast cancer cases and that is why women are encouraged to examine their breasts every month, preferably a few days after their menstrual periods.
Many people perceive cancer as unavoidable. If anything, recent research indicates that cancer is definitely preventable—you just have to understand what to avoid.
Here are top ways on how you can change your lifestyle to prevent it.
Studies evaluating the causative factors of breast cancer have indicated that physical activity in the form of exercising plays a significant role in lowering the chances of developing breast cancer. In order to bring down the risk of developing the killer disease, women should indulge in some kind of physical activity for 45 to 60 minutes at least five times a week. Research hints that 1.25 to 2.5 hours of brisk walking every week would lower the risk of developing breast cancer among women by 18 per cent.
Losing Added Calories
If you are overweight and fall in the obese category, then your chances of developing breast cancer are substantially high, studies have revealed. Obesity has been found to enhance the breast cancer risk, especially among females who have reached the age of menopause.
Prior to menopause, most of the estrogen in the body is secreted by the ovaries while only a small amount is made by the fat tissues. However, following menopause, fat tissues secrete most of the hormones. With more fat tissues, the amount of estrogen produced is high which in turn, accentuates the risk of developing breast cancer. Health experts have reiterated the importance of maintaining a healthy weight to keep breast cancer at bay.
Controlling Alcohol Consumption
Increased alcohol consumption has been linked with a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The amount of alcohol intake has been directly related to the risk of developing the killer disease at later stages of life. Women who regularly consume alcohol are much more likely to suffer from breast cancer in comparison to those who do not drink at all.
Increasing Breast-Feeding Habits
Mothers of new-born babies have a greater chance of keeping breast cancer at bay as studies show that breast-feeding, if continued for a period of at least one year, might decrease the risk of developing cancer. The fact that women tend to eat nourishing foods while maintaining a healthy lifestyle might be some of the contributing factors that decrease the chances of developing breast cancer when a woman breast-feeds.
Maintaining An Overall Healthy Lifestyle
Despite the fact that the risk posed by established factors can hardly be modified, maintaining a healthy lifestyle by making wholesome health choices surely go a long way in lowering the breast cancer risk.