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Understanding A Woman's Risk For Developing Breast Cancer

Saturday, February 04, 2012
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Knowing the facts!
Breast cancer is emerging as the most common kind of cancer seen in women in India. It can occur in both men and women, though to a much smaller extent in men. The incidence of breast cancer in India is on the rise and is rapidly becoming the number one cancer in females pushing the cervical cancer to the second spot, according to the Indian Council of medical Research (ICMR)

What causes breast cancer is not clearly understood, yet; some women who have one or more risk factors never get breast cancer. And most women who do get breast cancer don't have any risk factors. Having said that the factors listed below can increase a woman's chances of having the disease.

Risk factors you can't change:
==>    Gender - Being a woman puts you at a higher risk
==>    Age - Risk is higher if you are 55+ years
==>    Genetic make-up - You may have it in your genes
==>    Family history
==>    Past personal history of breast cancer
==>    Race - White women are more prone than Asians
==>    Menstrual cycle - If you had an early menarche and/or had a late menopause, your risk is high
==>    Increased exposure to radiation
==>    Hormonal therapy   

Risk factors you should stay away from   
•    Alcohol puts you at a greater risk
•    Smoking
•    Obesity. Greater risk if you have central obesity
•    Lack of physical activity   

Risk factors which need more research
  • High fat diets
  • Pollution
  • Passive smoking

What is the best method of screening for breast cancer in younger women?
Younger women's breasts are denser than older women's and mammograms may not be helpful. The best method for screening for breast cancer in younger women is breast self exam done once a month. Young women should become familiar with the shape and feel of their breasts, so that any change is easily identified. They should be made aware of their risk factors, and those at high risk should talk with their physicians to see how best to keep the cancer at bay.

How can I reduce my cancer risk?
•  Maintain a healthy weight i.e. choose low fat, healthy foods and be physically active. Losing a mere 5 kilos also helps a great deal.
•  Choose the right kind of fats in your diet (vegetable oils such as olive oil, canola oil, safflower and sunflower oils which are high in mono  and poly unsaturated fats are good choices).
•  Choose whole grains over refined/ processed ones. Whole foods are nutrient dense and in addition to calories, vitamins and minerals, have higher amounts of fiber which can bind cancer causing substances and remove them from the body
•  Eat at least 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day. Emphasize the colored vegetables and fruits- carrots, tomatoes, spinach, beets, squashes, strawberries, oranges and so on.  These foods are a powerhouse of phytonutrients which protect the body against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy & allium vegetables like onions, garlic, leeks and shallots, heighten the body's cancer-fighting abilities.
•  Limit intake of processed and red meats: Intake of such meats has been shown to increase the risk of developing cancer.
•  Don't abuse alcohol. If you `have' to drink, no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men is permissible. (Alcohol calorie calculator)
•  Regular breast cancer screening is a must, especially if you are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Talk with your family physician to determine the frequency and type of screening you need.

Be smart! Empower yourself with the right information & emerge a winner in the battle against breast cancer.

By, The Dietetic Team @ NutritionVista.com

Related Stories : Can A Common BP Medication Treat Breast Cancer?
                            Young? You're Still At Risk From Breast Cancer
                            Cervical Cancer, Can It Strike Really Young Women?
                            Foods That Cut The Risk Of Cancer

 

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User Comments

02 June, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Reema,

Phytonutrients are nutrients obtained from plant that include protective and disease averting compounds. They are added bonuses in fruits and vegetables that pack powerful health benefits.

Phytonutrients are known to prevent or protect us from lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity. They act as antioxidants and immune system boosters in the human body.

Thank you for your query, do visit our website more often for updates in nutrition and health.

Regards,
Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,
NutritionVista.com

01 June, 2010 | Reema | Reply

Reema I would like to know what are phytonutrients?

01 April, 2010 | sarasen | Reply

sarasen Hi,I have heard intake of soy helps to keep breast cancer at bay,How much true is that?

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Tags: Antioxidants, Antioxidants - Anti Aging, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cancer Diet & Nutrition, Cancer Management, Cancer Prevention, General health, Healthy Lifestyle, Screening, Seniors Health, Women's Health

 

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