Breast cancer; just reading these words can make many women worry and that’s natural. Breast cancer is a disease in which abnormal growth of malignant (cancer) cells are detected in the tissues of the breast. These cells usually arise from the ducts or lobules of the breast which can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels.
According to WHO, breast cancer is the reason for 16.9% deaths among cancer affected female deaths in 2018 in Bangladesh. About 12,764 new breast cancer patients are detected every year while the number of deaths from the deadly disease has stood annually at 6,846 across the country (BSS Report, 2018). And as the days count, we are stepping forward to a hopeless situation. In near future, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. But, it is also true that through spreading awareness and regular screening, breast cancer can be prevented.In Bangladesh, women who are 15-40 years old are at high risk. Women who are aged more than 40 must take breast self-exam and mammogram on a yearly basis.
Ibn SinaDiagonostic and Imaging Center, Ad-Din Hospital, National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and some private medical centers provide a women friendly environment to make the processes more easy going even for those women who are not comfortable with the screening tests.
Prevention: Prevention is better than cure. Breast cancer is one of the most easily preventable cancers if diagnosed at an early stage. Here are some steps that can help lower the risk:
1. Stop sugar intake: Sugar breaks into glucose to feed the body cells, including malignant cells. If we completely stop sugar intake, the cancer cells will eventually die because of not getting food.
2. Weight control: Being overwight can increase the risk of many different cancers, not only breast cancer. Especially, after menopause every woman should watch her weight.
3. Eat fruits and vegetables and limit alcohol consumption: Healthy diet prevent breast cancer to a great extent. A certain amount of fruits and veggies must be consumed regularly and alcohol consumption must be kept at moderate levels or lower.4. Don’t smoke: Smoking harms the immune system badly. Evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risks.
5. Breast feeding: Breast feeding reduces lifetime exposure to hormones such as estrogen which are linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
6. Reduce the use of birth control pills: An elevated breast cancer risk was found among not only users of hormonal birth control pills, contraceptive patches, and vaginal rings, but also women who used progestin-only implants and injections and hormonal IUPs – Dr. Keating, Harvard Medical School.
7. Be physically active: At least 30 minute of daily exercise is recommended to the women who re aged more than 20 years.