Breast cancer is now becoming the most common cancer in women in India. For the year 2015, there will be an estimated 1,55,000 new cases of breast cancer and about 76,000 women in India are expected to die of the disease. The gap only seems to be widening, which means, we need to work aggressively on early detection. (Statistics of Breast Cancer in India: Global Comparison)
Tips for prevention and early diagnosis
Women who exercise about 30 minutes, three to four times a week, can decrease the risk of breast cancer by 26%.
Breastfeeding Your Child :
Women who breastfeed their children will have reduced risk of breast cancer.
Maintaining Weight :
Women who gained 25 kgs above what they weighed after the age of 18 have 45% risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who maintained their weight.
Weight Loss After Menopause :
Women who reduced 10 kgs after menopause compared to pre-menopause weight also reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by 45%.
Avoid Alcohol :
Women who have 1 or 2 alcohol drinks a day increase their risk of breast cancer by 10%. Even moderate alcohol intake increases endogenous estrogen levels and provide a potential mechanism for breast cancer development.
Regular Screening After Age 40 :
Breast cancer, if detected early, can be cured completely. Monthly breast self-examination, yearly medical check and mammogram will detect cancer in its early stage. Monthly breast self-examination should start as early as in teens.
Eating Right :
A plant-based diet of at least two cups of a variety of vegetables or fruits is beneficial. There is evidence that minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals in plant foods interact in different ways to boost an individual’s anticancer effects.
The top picks for cancer prevention include beans, berries, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts), dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, mustard greens etc), flaxseed, garlic, grapes/grape juice, green tea, soy, tomatoes and whole grains.
Central Obesity :
Excess belly fat seems to be particularly harmful, most likely because of its effects on inflammation and its association with elevated insulin levels. So if you tend to be more “apple shaped” and carry extra weight in your belly, it is especially important to lose weight. Exercise regularly, and limit refined grains, sugar sweetened beverages, and added sugar in your diet.