Health tips for women: Top 27 ways to prevent breast cancer | Health

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi

Breast cancer is a significant concern for women but with the right knowledge and proactive steps, the risks can be minimised. To help you foster better health and overall well-being, we got some experts on board to reveal the top women’s health tips for breast cancer awareness and prevention.

Health tips for women: Top 27 ways to prevent breast cancer (Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash)
Health tips for women: Top 27 ways to prevent breast cancer (Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Meghal Sanghavi, Surgical Oncologist at Wockhardt Hospitals in Mumbai Central, suggested –

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  1. Regular Exercise and Obesity Prevention: Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a known risk factor for breast cancer, so staying active is crucial.
  2. Timely Childbearing: Consider early and timely childbearing, aiming for the first child before the age of 30. Studies suggest that giving birth at a younger age may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  3. Breastfeeding: Embrace breastfeeding, a practice linked to numerous health benefits for both mother and child. Aim to breastfeed for at least six months to enhance breast health.
  4. Avoid Long-Term Hormone Therapy: Be cautious about long-term continuous hormone therapy. Discuss alternatives with your healthcare provider to minimize potential risks.
  5. Healthy Lifestyle: Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the first line of defense. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, as these habits are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
  6. Family History Awareness: Understanding your family history is crucial. A family history of breast cancer is a risk factor, and being aware of it allows for informed decision-making and proactive health measures.
  7. Regular Self-Breast Examination: Promote the habit of regular self-breast examination after the age of 30. It’s a cost-effective and quick way to detect any changes early on, enhancing the chances of successful treatment.
  8. Mammogram Screenings: Recognize the significance of age as a risk factor. Encourage annual mammograms after the age of 40 in high-risk populations and every 18 months after the age of 45 in average-risk populations.
  9. Prompt Action for Abnormalities: No lump or nipple discharge should be ignored. Seek advice from a breast specialist for a clinical breast examination if any abnormalities are noticed.
  10. Early Detection and Cure: Understand that not all lumps are cancerous, and the majority of breast cancers are curable if detected early. Regular screenings and prompt action contribute to successful outcomes.

She advised, “Empower yourself with knowledge and take proactive steps towards breast cancer prevention. By incorporating these lifestyle changes and being vigilant about your breast health, you contribute to a healthier and happier future. Remember, early detection is key to overcoming breast cancer challenges.” Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Preetam Jain, Medical Oncologist at Bhatia Hospital in Mumbai, echoed that breast cancer is a significant concern for women worldwide but adopting a proactive and holistic approach to health can significantly reduce the risk and promote early detection.

He recommended the following comprehensive guide to women’s health tips for breast cancer awareness and prevention –

  1. Healthy Lifestyle: A foundation for overall well-being starts with a healthy lifestyle. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management and adequate sleep.
  2. Active Exercise: Engaging in physical activity for at least 5 days a week, with 20 minutes of exercise per day, not only helps in weight management but also boosts overall health.
  3. Stress Management: Chronic stress can impact your health negatively. Finding effective stress management techniques, such as meditation or yoga, can contribute to breast cancer prevention.
  4. Adequate Sleep: Prioritize getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per day. Quality sleep is crucial for the body’s repair and rejuvenation processes.
  5. Avoid Junk Food: Steer clear of processed and unhealthy foods. Opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  6. High Protein Diet: Include high-protein sources in your diet as they are essential for tissue repair and overall health.
  7. Antioxidant-Rich, Low-Calorie, and Low-Fat Diets: Consume diets rich in antioxidants to combat free radicals. Opt for low-calorie and low-fat options to maintain a healthy weight.
  8. Timely Marriage: Studies suggest that early marriage may have a protective effect against breast cancer.
  9. Having Children at the Right Age: Balancing career and family planning, having children at a younger age may contribute to breast cancer prevention.
  10. Avoid Late Childbirths and Nulliparity: Delaying childbirth and nulliparity (never having children) are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Consider family planning at an appropriate age.
  11. Breastfeeding: Embrace breastfeeding, as it is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. It also provides numerous health benefits for both mother and child.
  12. Avoid Pills Containing Estrogen: Certain birth control pills containing estrogen may increase the risk of breast cancer. Discuss alternative options with your healthcare provider.
  13. Avoid Obesity: Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Obesity is a known risk factor for various cancers, including breast cancer.
  14. Maintain BMI Between 20 to 24: Aim for a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 20 to 24 to ensure a healthy weight range.
  15. Self Breast Examination: Conduct a self-breast examination every month, ideally on the 10th day of your menstrual cycle. This habit promotes early detection of any changes.
  16. Breast Mammography Screening: After the age of 40, schedule a yearly mammography screening. Early detection through screenings significantly improves the chances of successful treatment.
  17. Understand Family History: Consult with your oncologist to understand your family history of breast cancer. Consider genetic counseling to assess your individual risk factors.

He concluded, “Empower yourself with knowledge and take proactive steps toward breast cancer prevention. By incorporating these holistic lifestyle changes, you are not only prioritising your breast health but also nurturing your overall well-being. Remember, regular check-ups and screenings play a crucial role in maintaining good health.”

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