When we ask females what is it likely meant to be a woman, many reply that being a woman means having strength, courage, equality, ability to maintain family and so on. Is it all about? It doesn’t end there, as a women we need to understand our health, our risk factors and our life style. Our health is not just self-wellbeing but also our family and community wellbeing. It is really surprising that being a woman itself is a risk factor for few cancers.
One in Eight denotes the incidence of Breast cancer in women. For every 8 women one develops breast cancer in her life time. As per National Institute of Cancer Prevention And Research, for every 2 women diagnosed with breast cancer one succumbs to it in India. Breast cancer has risen to No. 1 cancer in world pushing Cervical Cancer behind.
While there are many risk factors which are uncontrollable, equally there are risk factors that can be prevented or controlled which primarily include lifestyle. Staying aware of these risk factors that can be controlled and adopting to good lifestyle can reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.
High Risk Factors that can’t be controlled:
1. Gender: Even though breast cancer is also seen in Men it is highly seen in women.
2. Age: As age advances women are more prone to breast cancer. Age group 30-60 and above.
3. Familial History: history of breast cancer in mother, sister [first degree relative] or relatives may increase your risk of getting it.
4. Personal History : if you had previous history of breast, endometrium, ovarian, colon cancer you are at high risk
5. Genetic Mutations: Inherited/ defective genes BRCA1 and BRCA 2.
6. Reproductive Factors: Early Menarche and Late Menopause increases the risk by increased exposure to hormones for longer period.
7. High Breast Density
High Risk Factors that can be controlled:
1. Obesity: studies suggest that high Fat tissue can increase oestrogen levels there by increased risk of breast cancer mainly in post-menopausal women.
2. High Fat Diet: risk is less in low fat diet women compared to high fat diet.
3. Physical-Inactivity: being physically fit reduces the risk of breast cancer.
4. Alcohol consumption: few studies show that increased alcohol consumption increases hormones mainly oestrogen thereby increasing risk for breast cancer.
5. Hormonal replacement therapy: studies have established that greater risk is associated with Hormonal replacement therapy mainly in women using HRT to treat menopausal symptoms.
6. Recent/ current use of Oral contraceptives.
7. Late Pregnancy: pregnancy after 30 years of age increases risk of breast cancer.
8. Breast Feeding: during breast feed mothers have hormonal changes that delay menstruation and decrease exposure to hormones especially oestrogen thereby reducing breast cancer risk.
The more you are aware, the less is the risk, if you can’t control your risk factors they make sure to take control over you. Stay aware, stay healthy.