Prevent Breast Cancer

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer happens when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control and can then invade nearby tissues or spread throughout the body. Large collections of this out of control tissue are called tumors. However, some tumors are not really cancer because they cannot spread; these cells are called benign tumors. The tumors that can spread throughout the body or invade nearby tissues are considered cancerous and are called malignant tumors.

Any of the types of tissue in the breast can form a cancer, but usually it comes from either the ducts or from the glands; because it takes several months or even a year for a tumor to get large enough to feel in the breast.

Reduce Your Risk of Developing Cancer

  • Low-Fat Foods – Reduce the fat and skins from all meats before cooking. Eat more fish and chicken. Use low fat or skim milk products to reduce your fat intake.
  • Food Preparation – Avoid sauteing and deep fat frying. Season foods with lemon juice, herbs and spices. Use oil or tomato-based sauces
  • Eat Hi-Fiber Foods – Replace white bread with whole-grain breads and cereals made of rye, whole wheat, buckwheat, raw fruits and vegetables, peas, seeds, nuts, kidney and navy beans.
  • Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat home bake sweets using low-fat ingredients.

Breast Cancer’s Seven Warning Symptoms:

  • Change in bowel or bladder habits
  • A sore that does not heal, prolong sore
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere
  • Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
  • Obvious change in wart or mole
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness

Prevention of breast cancer

The individual cannot control the most important risk factors for the development of breast cancer. There are some risk factors that are associated with an increased risk, but there is not a clear cause.

There are a few risk factors that may be modified by a woman that potentially could influence the development of breast cancer.

For effective prevention a woman should avoid long-term hormone replacement therapy, have children before age 30, breastfeed, avoid weight gain through exercise and proper diet, and limit alcohol consumption.

For women who are already at a high risk, their risk of developing breast cancer can be reduced by about 50 per cent by taking a drug called Tamoxifen for five years. However, tamoxifen can have side effects such as hot flashes and vaginal discharge and some uncommon side effects such as blood clots, stroke, and uterine cancer which are can be life threatening. Tamoxifen may not be used in some cases.

There is limited information that vitamin A may protect against breast cancer but further research is needed before it can be recommended for prevention.

For now the most important thing any woman can do to reduce her risk of dying from breast cancer is to have regular mammogram screening, learn how to perform breast self exams, and have a regular physical examination by their physician.