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Breast cancer: Awareness and prevention

Sujal Torgal Patil

 

This segment throws light on preventing cancer in general. There is no discrete cause of cancer and therefore there is no discrete solution either. According to a general research, 50 to 60 per cent of breast cancers did not show any connection with known risk factors. Nonetheless, this article is for those 40 to 50 per cent of women with known risk factors.

A healthy cell does not turn into a cancer cell overnight. Its behaviour gradually changes as a result of damage to hundreds of genes that control cell growth, division and life span. First, the cell starts to grow and multiply. Over time, more changes may take place. The cell and its descendants may eventually become immortal, escape destruction by the body’s defences, develop their own blood supply and invade the rest of body. Cancer develops in the body when one has exposures to more than one risk factor, faulty dietary and lifestyle practices, compromised immune system due various reasons including mismanagement of infections and inflammations throughout one’s life. Certain risk factors like heredity and family history are unavoidable but factors like alcohol or tobacco are avoidable.

So let us find out about the avoidable risk factors and work on them.

Dietary guidelines: Food is the easiest trigger of inflammatory responses in the body. For anybody who is at risk of cancer due to familial disposition or compromised immune system and for those above 40 years, food habits become extremely crucial part of preventive regimen against cancer.

Consume vegetarian food with reduced intake of dairy foods especially processed milk, cheese, yogurt, salted butter, etc. Fruits and nuts should only be included if one has higher metabolical status. Vegetables which are locally and organically grown should be preferred over inorganic or exotic foods. Drink boiled water throughout (even if it is double or triple filtered). Do not resort to crash dietary practices. Eat freshly cooked, lighter and warm meals when you are hungry. Avoid overeating, binge eating and skipping meals when hungry.

This goes without saying that one needs to avoid junk food, fried, stale, processed and engineered food as much as possible.

Listen to your body: It is important to maintain a health journal and note down all the necessary information pertaining to your health in it. Weight changes, sleep changes, urine and stool changes, pains and inflammations, menstrual changes or any peculiar body patterns should be noted down. Especially after 40 all this information becomes crucial. If you suffer from recurrent issues related to a certain system or organ do not ignore. Take measures to improve the health of that particular part of your body.

Some infections can cause long-term inflammation in a part of the body. This can lead to changes in the affected cells and in nearby immune cells, making that part vulnerable which can eventually lead to cancer.

Do not suppress natural urges like urination, defecation, hunger, sleep, sneeze or burp, etc, as it can lead to endotoxin accumulation again.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle: This includes eating healthy food on appropriate times, sleeping on time and waking up early. Avoid day nap if not required. Have a less stressful atmosphere at home and work.

If you have to deal with stress on a daily basis, resort to activities like hobbies or meditation to help you cope up with stress better. Try to inculcate positive attitude and emotions rather than a negative, pessimistic approach in life.

Women dealing with menopause go through an emotional turmoil and research has proven links between increased incidence of cancer and stress.

Be physically active: Exercise should become an integral part of our daily schedules even otherwise. Women who are physically active and sweat out for at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to help keep weight in check which again reduces chances of B-cancer.

Stay away from addictions: If you drink alcohol, smoke or chew tobacco you are few steps closer to cancer than people who do not. On top of lowering quality of life and increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and at least 20 cancers including breast cancer, these addictions decrease the life span in general regardless of one’s affliction with cancer.

Regular screening: Regular body check-ups after 40, breast examination and mammograms are important in the early screening of breast cancer. You should be familiar with your breasts and tell a health care provider right away if you notice any changes in how your breasts look or feel.

Other measures: Breast feeding is healthy for your child and also reduces the risk of cancer. Avoid birth control medication especially after 30 years of age. Women who are taking birth control pills have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. This risk goes away after stopping the pill. Avoid hormone therapy after menopause – both oestrogen only hormones and oestrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk of breast cancer.

Resort to natural healing methods: Be it minor ailments or major inflammations there are natural ways of reversing pathologies in the body like ayurveda. Science-based evidence-based ayurveda treats disorders which are infectious, inflammatory or autoimmune in nature with minimal medication today. Most of modern or synthetic drugs have suppressing or blocking effect on the natural mechanisms in the body. One of the major complications of this is the imbalanced immune system. Increased numbers of autoimmune disorders seen today along with cancers cannot be completely denied of having a link with this phenomenon.

(Writer is CMO at TRAYA NATURAL HEALTH CENTRE and can be reached at wellnesstraya@gmail.com)

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