World Cancer Day: Reducing Your Breast Cancer Risk
World Cancer Day, celebrated every year on the 4th of February, is an internationally marked day used to raise awareness as well as encourage the prevention and treatment of cancer.
According to recent statistics, there were over 2 million new breast cancer cases in 2018. These statistics are quite frightening and it doesn’t help that studies have yet to reveal an effective way in which to cure the disease that affects both women and men.
Cancer risk factors
Thankfully the main risk factors of breast cancer have been identified. Granted, one cannot change their genetic disposition if cancer runs in their family, but they can change their lifestyle habits – and while adopting the below-mentioned habits won’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll stay cancer-free, it will certainly lower the risk.
1. Keep moving
Living an active lifestyle has been linked to a number of health benefits, including lessening the risk of breast cancer, whereas a sedentary lifestyle could actually increase said risk. According to one study published in the American Cancer Society, women who sit for more than six hours a day are at an increased of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
So what would be an adequate amount of exercise? Well according to one French study, using 4-7 hours out of the week to exercise can help to lower your risk by 31%, in fact. Exercise can be done in the form of walking, dancing, biking or even tai chi. All of these activities can also help you keep excess weight off – which is also another risk factor (1).
2. Fish over red meat
If you’re a fan of red meat, you might want to switch it out for some fish. Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which makes them a great addition to your plate, as various studies have revealed the breast-cancer fighting abilities of omega 3’s (2). Moreover, these acids are fantastic for your skin, as they help to replenish the fats required for volume in your skin, from the inside of your body.
3. Use spices
Spices can do more than just flavor your food.
Turmeric is a yellow spice that gets its sunny colour from the compound curcumin. According to one study, curcumin can actually inhibit the growth of tumors. Another important herb is parley. In one animal study, parsley was revealed to help delay tumor formation in rats (3).
4. Olive oil is the oil of choice
A staple of the mediterranean diet and one of the best kept beauty secrets, olive oil needs to have a permanent spot in your kitchen cupboard. A study revealed that women who consumed more servings of extra olive oil faced fewer breast cancer diagnoses.
5. Eat more fiber
Fiber can do more than regulate your digestive system. According to one study published in the journal Pediatrics, consuming high-fibre foods during young adulthood can actually lower one’s risk by 16%.
Fiber rich foods include legumes, nuts, apples, bananas and mangos.
6. Quit smoking
If we have to be honest, there really is no justifiable reason as to why you’re still smoking.
Aside from the countless studies that highlight the negative effects that smoking can have one your health, one 2017 study revealed that the risk for breast cancer amongst smokers was usually higher in those who had lit their first cigarette much earlier in life.
7. Taste the rainbow
If you’re looking to enjoy a healthy diet, the more colourful it is, the better.
The brightly coloured fruits and vegetables that should adorn your plate are rich in carotenoids. These are the compounds that not only give these foods their bright colours but also offer the body anti oxidative protection (4).
Also, clearing your diet of processed foods and packaged products can also help to lower one’s risk.
Breast cancer prevention tip: get your yearly mammogram
Beginning from the age of 40, women need to start getting an annual mammogram screening – especially if they’re at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, studies have revealed that biannual breast exams can efficiently detect early breast cancers in young women with a genetic disposition to breast cancer.
It is also important to practice self-examination by looking out for lumps and nipple discharge as this symptoms can actually increase your risk for breast cancer (5).