DT Health: Lifestyle changes can help lower breast cancer risk

Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to enhance your health and reduce your chance of breast cancer.
Representative image
Representative image

By Dr Suresh Kumar B, Associate Consultant, Medical Oncology, Kauvery Hospital

CHENNAI: Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the most frequent cause of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide. In India, the lifetime risk of breast cancer is one in twenty-eight women. For urban women, it is higher (1 in 22) than for the rural group (1 in 60).

Breast cancer can be cured and chances of survival have been increased if it is found early. Additionally, it affects younger age groups more often—the age range of 25 to 50 accounts for nearly 50 per cent of cases. In India, breast cancer survival rate is low since the disease is discovered at a later stage. Knowing how to recognise it and making an early diagnosis is the only way to overcome this. Although there is no evidence that leading a healthier lifestyle may prevent breast cancer, it is thought that reducing your exposure to risk factors and adopting more healthy habits could help to reduce the risk.

Obesity, excessive alcohol use, family history of breast cancer, gene mutations, reproductive history (age when menstruation started and first pregnancy), tobacco use and postmenopausal hormone therapy are some factors that raise the risk of breast cancer. Stress, lack of exercise and other lifestyle factors are also linked to the development of breast cancer.

In addition to mammography and other acceptable measures to detect breast cancer, you can adjust a few aspects of your lifestyle to maintain good health and lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to enhance your health and reduce your chance of breast cancer. Stop taking alcohol and quit smoking. Have a balanced diet and maintaine healthy weight particularly after menopause. Breastfeeding lowers the risk too.

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