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October is considered as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Even the smallest sign of fever or cold in their kids is enough to make Moms rush to the doctor but they ignore the major symptoms when it comes to their own health.
If you think that it’s too much of fuss being made for seemingly rare illness, here are some facts. According to WHO in the year 2012 in India 144,937 women were newly detected with breast cancer and 70,218 women died of breast cancer. For the year 2015 WHO prediction is that there will be an estimated 1, 55,000 new cases of breast cancer and about 76,000 women are expected to die of the disease.
While these numbers may be disturbing, the good thing about breast cancer is that it is one of the most curable cancers .While there is no definite way to prevent breast cancer, there are things that women can do that might help them cut the risk of getting the disease in their life.
Here are some of the best methods that health experts often recommend on how to prevent getting breast cancer:
1. Be 'breast aware'- It is no longer advised that women need to examine their breasts every month in a regimented way as this may cause them to become over-anxious. Instead, women are now advised to become 'breast aware'. This means getting to know what your breasts look like in front of a mirror, and feel like - perhaps in the shower or lying down - at different times of the month so that if an abnormal change occurs you can spot them at once.
2. Breast-feed your babies-Some studies have shown a link between breast-feeding and a lower risk of developing breast cancer, although there is still no clear consensus on this. The claims are based on the theory that breast cancer is related to the hormone estrogen. Breast-feeding temporarily reduces a woman's estrogen levels.
3. If you find a lump, go to see your doctor as soon as possible- Research shows that many, women delay going to see a doctor if they find a lump in their breast because they are afraid they have cancer. This is the worst thing you can do. Firstly, nine out of ten breast lumps are not cancer, so visiting your doctor will usually help you put your mind at rest. Secondly, if your lump is cancerous, prompt treatment could save your life.
4. Find out if you have a family history of breast cancer- Much research is still needed before scientists fully understand all the causes of breast cancer. But one thing is known for sure: genetic breast cancer accounts for at least ten per cent of all cases of the illness. It is thought that one in five hundred people carry a faulty gene which can make them susceptible to the disease.
5. Watch your alcohol intake and avoid smoking -Alcohol and long-term smoking have been linked to breast cancer in a number of studies.
6. Maintain a healthy body weight: Obesity is one of the main culprits that cause cancer among post menopausal women. One should avoid gaining weight over time and try to keep a body-mass index (BMI) less than 25.
7. Sleep well: That means sleep about 8 hours each night. Research shows that short sleep, night-shift work, exposure to light during the night and other causes of circadian (daily rhythm) disruption increases breast cancer risk.
8. Exercise regularly: Research suggests that regular exercise cuts overall breast cancer risk by about 10 to 30 percent. A moderate exercise like a 30-minute walk five or more days a week can be effective.
9. Eat less fat-There is much debate about the link between breast cancer and diet. But there is evidence that certain western lifestyle factors - particularly our high fat diet - appear to increase the risk of the disease.
10. Get regular breast cancer screenings: Follow your doctor or health care provider’s recommendations to decide what type of screening you need and how often you need it. If you are at high risk for breast cancer, such as having a particular gene like a BRCA gene, or have a strong family history or have had high-risk benign breast disease in the past, talk with your doctor about the options required.
In short, all women especially all the moms who are worried about the health of their child and the well being of their family but tend to neglect their own health, have to make the time for self care. When you do this, you send an important message to your kids, especially your daughters.