By SEAN PICKUP
October is International Breast Cancer Awareness month. What follows is just a bit of information regarding what signs and symptoms to look out for as well as ways to help prevent you from getting this disease.
According to the 2017 National Cancer Registry, breast cancer is the most common cancer among all races of women with the risk of a woman getting it in her lifetime as high as 1 in 25. (CANSA, n.d.) The risk of a woman developing any type of breast cancer is staggeringly high which highlights the importance of identification and prevention.
Breast cancer happens when some breast cells begin to grow abnormally. These cells divide rapidly and continue to grow until a lump or mass is formed. These cells may even spread through your breast and into your lymphatic system thus spreading them throughout the body. Hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors can all lead to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Some risk factors for breast cancer are:
- Being female (It is very rare, but males can also suffer from breast cancer)
- Increased age
- Previous breast cancer in one breast increases the risk of getting it in the other one
- Family history of breast cancer
- Obesity increases your overall risk
- Alcohol consumption
- Radiation exposure to the chest area.
- Never being pregnant or having your first child over the age of 30
Although there are many risk factors involved, some women will have may of them and never develop the disease while some women with no risk factors will.
Now for some big warning signs to look out for:
- Any kind of lump or thickening of tissue felt in the breast
- Changes in the shape, size or appearance of the breast as well as any changes to the skin over the breast
- Any peeling or flaking of the skin surrounding the nipple or a newly inverted nipple.
If you notice any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
There are however some ways we can try and prevent women from getting this disease even if it just decreasing their overall risk:
- Conduct breast self-examinations regularly. This will not prevent you from getting breast cancer but it will help you notice any changes much sooner.
- Limit overall alcohol consumption.
- Increase your activity level. If you exercise regularly, keep it up. If you don’t, try start with just 30 minutes of walking every second day and gradually increase the time and intensity.
- Eat a healthier diet. Healthier food will help with the weight reduction and it will also make you feel better overall.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight. The increase in exercise will help regulate your body weight as well as the healthy diet.
These preventative measures will not stop you from getting the disease, but they will definitely help decrease your overall risk.
If you need any assistance with any kind of exercise program in order to get active or to stay active, do not hesitate to contact us.