According to the World Health Organization, “Breast cancer is the most common cancerous disease in Pakistan killing nearly 40,000 women every year.”
As clichéd as it sounds, prevention is better than cure, especially when a life threatening illness such as breast cancer is on the agenda. Surely simple lifestyle changes are better than spending millions on cancer drugs that come with their own risks and no guarantee of a complete cure?
Below are 8 simple changes you can and should make to lower your chances of getting this stubborn disease:
Maintain a Healthy Weight; being overweight has many negative consequences including increasing the risk of breast cancer, especially after the menopause for women.
Be active; regular exercise (doctors recommend at least 30 minutes a day) is an approved method to lower your risk of disease and helps maintain your weight at a healthy level.
Eat a balanced diet; a diet consisting of a variety of fruits and vegetables provides your body with the required nutrients and vitamins needed to fight disease and stay fit.
Kick the smoking habit; apart from the visible negative effects including smelly breath, bad teeth and wrinkles, smoking increases the chances of stroke, heart disease and cancer.
Avoid birth control pills; in particular if you smoke or are over the age of 35, birth control pills can increase hormones that can cause breast cancer. However, forgoing the pill should be considered as it can lower the risk of ovarian cancer, colon cancer and prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
Breastfeed; provided it is safe to do so, breastfeeding babies for at least a year can significantly lower the chances of breast cancer and also benefits the child.
Avoid post-menopausal hormones; if taken long-term, these hormones can cause extra oestrogen in the body, a cause of breast cancer. However, much like birth control pills, post-menopausal hormones have equal benefits to risks, as they help lower the chances of heart disease and osteoporosis.
Take prevention drugs if at high risk; taking prescription drugs (approved by authorized bodies)can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer particularly for those carrying a high risk of getting such disease. If you feel you’re at high risk or have a family history of cancer, you should talk to your doctor to see if this method is right for you.
Overall, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle will help avoiding cancer. In particular, breast cancer is affected heavily by hormones, as a result those high at risk should consult a doctor and limit the intake of oestrogen.