October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month but how much are we really aware about this illness is the real question here
Did you know…?
Breast cancer has replaced cervical cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths for women in India and across the globe. It is a fact that many Indian women diagnosed with breast cancer know very little about their condition and do not pay much heed to getting immediate treatment which reduces the chances of their survival. Busy with handling the daily chores and sorting out family hassles, many women keep postponing their treatment and reach hospitals at an advanced stage whereby the cancer has spread to an extent that very little can be done to help them.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, more than 60% of Indian women are diagnosed with breast cancer at stage III or IV. Experts believe 1 in 28 women is prone to develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Public awareness can be part of an overall approach to reducing these figures.
It will benefit the next generation of women who will be much more aware and willing to take the first step towards early diagnosis and treatment.
Having a family history of breast cancer increases a woman’s risk for developing this disease later in life. There is no control over genetics but some factors can certainly be controlled to prevent and minimize the risk of breast cancer:
- Bad lifestyle choices that include a poor diet with excess consumption of alcohol and exposure to nicotine makes a woman highly prone to being diagnosed with breast cancer later in life
- Lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle also contribute to this disease
- Ignoring the warning signs and delaying the screening process often results in late detection which directly affects the survival rate of breast cancer patients
- Many artificial hormone therapies including some oral contraceptives could be potential triggers of this disease. Getting your doctor’s approval before starting with any kind of medical therapy is a must
- Disrupted sleep cycle as a result of working in rotating shifts can also increase the risk of breast cancer. Some researchers are of the opinion that women who work at least 3 night shifts a week for 6 or more years are twice as likely to develop breast cancer
- Delaying pregnancy has also shown to increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer at a later stage. Researchers believe that the longer a woman breast-feeds, the lower her chances of getting the disease.
- Stress may not be directly linked to breast cancer but definitely triggers other bad habits that could then increase your risk factor
- Certain canned food and drinks are known to possess chemicals that behave like oestrogens, increasing breast cancer risk. Also, excess intake of food items that are high in saturated fats doubles the risk of developing this disease
- Breast implants may enhance your overall appearance but could also make you susceptible to developing breast cancer. Studies indicate that women who have breast implants are 38% more likely to die from breast cancer as compared to women who succumb due to late diagnosis