Breast cancer is becoming rampant among Nigerian women. And the pains and trauma associated with breast cancer is enough reason to prevent it by all means. Having breast cancer is a big fear due to the high mortality rate of the disease. What people should realise is that, the risk of many cancers including breast cancer can be significantly reduced by living a healthy lifestyle.
The following are some tips on how to prevent breast cancer;
1. Regular exercise
Exercise helps to prevent cancer in several ways. First it helps to control weight and secondly, exercise alters estrogen metabolism. According to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and prevention “among women who exercise, the ratio of good estrogens to bad estrogens ( those that can damage DNA and increase a woman’s breast cancer risk) improved by roughly 25%”.
To protect yourself from breast cancer and all types of cancer, women are recommended to aim for 15 minutes of moderate intensity-exercise weekly, which breaks down to 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
2. Know your family cancer history including your father’s.
This is because about 5 to 10% of breast cancer is hereditary. Passed from one generation to the next via a variety of mutated genes. Your father’s family also counts as much as your mother’s. And also look at your family’s history of other types of cancer. Note that multiple diagnosis on either side of your family can be a clue to a hereditary link.
3. Limit your hormone intake
A lot of women do not realise that hormones normally found in contraceptives, can be dangerous to their health.
The women’s health initiative found that long term use of combined estrogen plus progestin increases a woman’s breast cancer risk by 24%.
4. Breast feed your baby.
Breast feeding your baby for at least 6 months is very important in the prevention of breast cancer. A recent study in the American journal of clinical nutrition revealed that women who constantly breast feed for the first 6 months have a 10% reduced risk of death from cancer compared to those who do not.
This is because a woman does not menstruate while breast feeding, it limits the number of cycles she hers over a life time which lowers the amount of estrogen to which her body is exposed.
5. Eat the right foods.
Expects recommend eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, limiting processed and red meat choosing whole grains to help reduce risk of all types of cancer.
Harvard researchers recently found out that, women who had the highest carotenoid levels in their blood had a 19% lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels. Carotenoids are found in fruits and vegetables such as red pepper, carrots and leafy greens.