Breast Cancer Prevention Tips

Breast cancer is one of the most feared diagnosis a woman can get. Just the mere mention of the disease already conjures images of despair, death, and at best, disfigurement. According to studies conducted by Singapore researchers, one in eight women develops invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, and about 40,000 lose their lives to the illness each year. Luckily, even with these odds stacked against you, there are still some measures that you can take to help you decrease your risk of developing the disease.

1. Detect the Disease Early On
When detected early, the prognosis is usually excellent. In fact, the survival rate for a breast cancer that’s detected during its earliest stage is at 99 percent. Here’s what you need to know to promote early detection of the disease.

• If you think you’re in average risk or doesn’t have any family history, experts recommend having a quality breast cancer screening in Singapore and a mammogram test every two years when you reach 50 years old. Some oncologists, on the other hand, recommend starting mammogram tests in your early 40s. Just consult with a specialist to determine an ideal plan for you.

• Be familiar with the look and the feel of your breasts, so it would be easier for you to detect and report any changes in texture or appearance to your doctor. Make sure to notify your specialist if you ever notice any crusting or bleeding of the nipples and any pain in your breast area.

• Women with higher risk should start getting breast cancer screening much earlier, and consider undergoing an MRI screening as well.

2. Figure Out Your Breast Density
One way to protect yourself from breast cancer is to find out if you have dense breasts. For breasts with more tissue than fat, it makes cancer harder to detect on mammograms. More importantly, having dense breasts make your breast cancer risk six times higher.

When having a mammogram, ask the radiologist whether or not your breasts are dense. But even if you have low breast density, you’ll still need to undergo regular check-ups. If it’s high, ask your doctor to add ultrasound or MRI tests to your screening tests, or to switch to digital mammography from the traditional one to make it easier to detect any abnormalities in dense breast.

3. Lessen Exposure to Radiation
Sounds ironic, right? Mammogram tests are staple physical tests against breast cancer, but using ionizing radiation can put you at risk for the disease, since it causes DNA mutation in cells. Still, that doesn’t mean that you should skip mammogram tests from now on. Mammogram tests deliver very minimal amounts of radiation, and as long as you follow the general guidelines, there shouldn’t be any issues.

The same thing is true for airport security screenings and dental x-rays – and the likelihood of discovering a potential health problem still outweighs the risk of minimal radiation exposure. However, Singapore health experts say that x-ray tests must only be performed when the physician deems them necessary as a part of a treatment for a particular disease. Make sure that you know the reason why you need to have an x-ray; if you’re uncertain whether you need one, we suggest getting second opinion.

4. Know Your Maternal and Paternal Health Histories
About five to 10 percent of breast cancer in Singapore is hereditary, passed from one generation to another through various mutated genes. Your father’s family history matters as much as your mother’s so ensure that you know both the family history of your parents. Also, look at your family’s history of other cancers as well.

Apart from your family history, it’d also be best for you to know the medical and health history of your second- and third-degree relatives (uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, and grandchildren). If you found something that bothers you, seek professional help of genetics expert.

5. Breast-Feed Your Baby
Women who chose to breast-feed their babies on the first six months after birth are said to have 10 percent lesser risk from breast cancer Singapore. One reason: Since breast-feeding moms do not menstruate, it lowers the number of menstrual cycles they experience throughout their lifetime, thereby reducing the oestrogen levels that their bodies produce. This just proves that breast-feeding isn’t just good for the babies, it is ideal for mothers, too.

6. Develop an Active Lifestyle
Exercise is believed to protect against breast cancer in various ways. First, it helps controlling one’s weight. A study found that females who gained 20 to 30 pounds from the age of 18 were 40 percent more likely to develop the disease than those individuals who hadn’t gained over five pounds. The reason? Increased oestrogen production, which stimulates cell overgrowth and breast cancer. The more fat a woman has in her body, the more oestrogen she’ll produce.

Second, exercising alters oestrogen metabolism. For women who exercises, the ratio of good to bad oestrogens increased by 25 percent. You don’t have to start training for an Ironman race though. Performing a moderate-intensity exercise each week is already enough to protect yourself from breast cancer, and any other cancers.

Through early detection and these tips, it’s now possible for women to protect themselves from breast cancer. So ensure that you live a healthy lifestyle, and undergo all the important tests regularly to keep yourself protected from the said the disease or any other illnesses.

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