Unless you have a well-defined plan, here is food for thought.
In addition to wearing pink or a pink ribbon, campaigning to raise funds and getting a mammogram, there are essential things that everybody can do in this month and year round.
Why everybody? Because both men and women can get breast cancer, and because you care about your loved ones.
First of all, the key to fighting breast cancer is to catch it early. The cancer is most treatable at an early stage.
Then the best cure is prevention. Surely, you cannot control certain risk factors such as family history and/or genetics. However, do you know – about 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer? This means that DNA mutation can occur over one’s lifetime, and that’s why lowering your risk for breast cancer is critical.
So what are five most common daily risks for breast cancer?
- Junk foods (processed foods, food low in nutrients but high in fat, sugar and salt)
- Physical inactivity
- Environmental pollutants and toxins
Everybody can relate to these health hazards, right? Be aware, some of them are hidden. Of course, there are other risk factors for breast cancer, including hormone therapy, radiation exposure, aging, and sleeping pattern (night shift).
I want to stress that it’s not one single factor that plays a measurable role in causing any cancer. Multiple or combined factors contribute to the development of breast cancer. For instance, when combined with genetic factors, alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking enhance a risk for breast cancer and several other cancers as well. Furthermore, each cancer is different; no two people have the exactly same cancer.
Next, how to reduce breast cancer risk?
Breast cancer prevention starts with a healthy lifestyle, such as stopping tobacco use, limiting alcohol consumption, getting a nutritious diet, staying physically active, keeping a healthy weight, and avoiding environmental toxins if you can.
Lifestyle modification is often most effective and goes a long way. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Live a healthy lifestyle by starting with small, simple steps on a daily basis. Just consider food. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially a low-fat diet have been shown to offer protection from breast cancer. Plus, eating healthy can help you maintain a healthy weight and decrease your risk for several other types of cancer.
Regular physical activities also offer you some protection. Research has demonstrated that women who exercised vigorously or moderately were significantly less risky to get breast cancer compared with non-exercisers.
In summary, focus on what you can do to lower your cancer risk. If you’re at an increased risk, breast cancer can be closely monitored with advanced technology and with help of your physician(s).