Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, other than skin cancer. In the United States approximately 183,000 new cases are diagnosed and about 41,000 women die each year from cancer originating in the breast.
If young women take certain simple steps when they are adolescents, they may reduce risk of breast cancer later in life. A research suggests that puberty could be a crucial time for development of breast cancer.
Regular exercise is believed to delay the beginning of a girl’s first menstrual period. That is when the body creates hormones that stimulate the majority of breast cancers.
According to research, just 4 hours of weekly exercise can postpone hormone surges for up to 12 months.
Four hours a week is not a large amount of activity for a girl. She can play dodge ball, play on the playground or ride her bike. Because exercise can lower hormone activity, it can reduce risk of breast cancer, even after a girl starts having periods.
One more way is cutting back on fat. Girl who cut her fat intake by only 6 percent lowered her estrogen and progesterone levels by at least 30 percent, according to research.
These theories are not really well tested and need more research.
What are the natural ways of preventing breast cancer?
1. Eat More Plants and Less Meat:
More specifically, eat more bright
colored vegetables and fruits.
Plant pigments called flavonoids have anticancer properties, and people who consume more of them seem to enjoy a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Flavonoid subtypes called flavonols and flavones appear to be particularly helpful. Foods containing flavonols and flavones include onions, broccoli, eggplant, celery, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, oranges, melons, black tea, coffee, chamomile etc.
2. Get 300 Minutes of Exercise Every Week.
Physical inactivity contributes to 9 percent of breast cancer cases. People who are more physically active have a reduced risk of breast cancer, as well as other cancers and diseases, such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
In addition, physical activity improves outcomes in people who already have cancer. Research has it that women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer who engaged in an exercise program experienced improved physical and mental health.
Physical activity also benefits the quality of life and overall health in breast cancer survivors.
Three hundred minutes of exercise per week is a good target. Examples of exercise you can do are brisk walking, tennis balling, swimming, cycling, dancing, or raking leaves — and do it to the point that your heart rate hastens, and you can talk but not sing. Exercise for 30 minutes four days a week, and on the other three days, exercise for an hour.
3. Lose Body Fat, Especially After Menopause.
One way physical activity may protect against breast cancer is by reducing body fat, which is itself a risk factor for breast cancer — and body fat tends to creep up after menopause.
To lose weight, you need to either reduce caloric intake or burn more calories. A 2015 study in Breast Cancer Research divided previously inactive, overweight, postmenopausal women into diet, exercise, and control (no intervention) groups. Women in both the diet and exercise groups lost weight, and not surprisingly, exercising resulted in the maintenance of lean mass (muscle and organs) and improved fitness. It also produced greater fat loss and led to a more significant reduction in sex hormones associated with breast cancer.
4. Avoid Drinking of Alcohol :
This is tightly linked with breast cancer, and the more you drink, the greater your risk. People who drink excess Alcohol face a 28 percent greater risk of breast cancer, and there is no threshold — that is, even a little alcohol increases your risk.
5. Avoid Birth Control Pills, Particularly if you are above 35years old.
The younger a woman is, the lower the risks of getting breast cancer.
While women are taking birth control pills, they have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. This risk goes away quickly, though, after stopping the pill. The risk of stroke and heart attack is also increased while on the pill – particularly if a woman smokes. However, long-term use can also have important benefits, like lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, colon cancer and uterine cancer and so on, so there’s also a lot in its favor. If you’re very concerned about breast cancer, avoiding birth control pills is one option to lower risk.
Post-menopausal hormones shouldn’t be taken long term to prevent chronic diseases, like osteoporosis and heart disease. Studies show they have a mixed effect on health, increasing the risk of some diseases and lowering the risk of others, and both estrogenonly hormones and estrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk of breast cancer. If women do take post-menopausal hormones, it should be for the shortest time possible.
7. Go for breast cancer Screening.
Breast cancer screening with mammography saves lives.
It doesn’t help prevent cancer, but it can help find cancer early when it’s most treatable. For most women, regular mammograms can begin at age 40, but specific recommendations vary by age and risk.
If you are between the age of 40 – 44:
You can choose to start yearly mammograms.
It is very advisable to talk to a doctor to know the risk and benefits of mammograms at these ages.
If you are between the of age 45 – 54:
It is advisable to go for
Mammograms every year.
If you are between the age of 55 or over:
Mammograms are recommended every other year.
You can as well decide to continue to do it every year.
Clinical breast examination and self-examinations are not recommended.
But you should be familiar with your breasts and tell a health care provider right away if you notice any changes in the appearance of your breasts .
What not to eat:
Processed meats, such as hot dogs, bologna, ham, sausage,
and bacon, cause colorectal cancer.
Red meat (beef, lamb, goat, and pork) was classified as “probably carcinogenic.”
While the association between meat and cancer is strongest for colorectal cancer, some studies also link processed meat to breast cancer.
Some health experts point out that the occasional sausage probably won’t hurt you.