BY KARISHMA RAI SHARMA
All of us women dread the day we may face a positive prognosis. We wonder if we too will experience the pain of being diagnosed with breast cancer. We live in a society where breast cancer is looked down upon. We are marked as defective and sick. Aunties remind us that our husbands will lose interest in us or our children will suffer.
Instead of creating awareness amongst younger women, aunties spend time telling us how we will suffer. When breast cancer was not that prevalent there was a lot of stigma associated with it. It was assumed that our quality of life would be greatly reduced.
But awareness and technology has allowed us a pathway to battle this. Thousands of women who are battling breast cancer are now becoming a voice of upliftment. Their lives are an example that breast cancer does not have to define us anymore.
With that being said, we must consider that there is a slim possibility of a young woman contracting cancer. So the best way to tackle this, is to TRY and prevent it. We understand that genetics play a role but where does it say we cannot try to prevent and protect ourselves much earlier on.
The Indian Landscape For Awareness…..
We are still in the era of creating period awareness. We continue our fight against breast cancer and other reproductive disorders. We have thousands of resources to support us and give us all the information. But we lack the access to these resources. Some schools have reproductive health education and some do not.
It is time we began spreading the word when it comes to Breast Cancer. Research states that if caught and diagnosed early, breast cancer can be much more manageable before it is too late. So we bring you the top ways to prevent and early diagnose breast cancer.
SYMPTOMS OF BREAST CANCER
- Swelling and thickening of the breast which is different from usual.
- Change in the skin over the breast area.
- Blood or other discharge than milk from the nipple.
- Flaking or peeling around the nipple.
- Any change in the size and shape of the breast can also be a sign.
- Unexplained weight loss and appetite, feeling constantly sick.
Note : Breast changes can happen around the time of your period due to the rise of progesterone or PMS symptoms . This is natural, but when you see a major changes in your breast do not discount it and get it looked at by your local gynaecologist.
Reducing the Risks
- Self Examination : Make it a point to monitor changes in your breast tissue every month. You can do this at home and its non evasive or not painful. All you have to do is run your hand along the breast and using gentle prodding motions look for any lumps or painful zones. Doing this every month around the time of your period can tell you more about your breast and alert you to any changes . This saves you time and allows for faster diagnosis.
- Diet : Nearly for all preventive measures diet comes into the picture. It is important to watch what you eat and ensure that your body has all the nutrients it needs. Yes, we all love fried, cheesy junk food but in due time choices like this take a toll on our health . Having a balanced diet has always done more good than harm to anyone.
- Smoking and Drinking : These two devils are much loved. Yet, they cause more damage than we all realize. Thousands of reproductive health doctors claim that cigarette boxes should add ” harms fertility” on their boxes apart from cancer warnings. Drinking a glass of wine is touted to do more good than downing good old vodka and tequila. Hence, opt for what is best for you.
- Breast Feeding: If you are pregnant this is the way to go. Breastfeeding your baby can actually help you prevent or stall breast cancer.
- Chemicals : We love skincare routines and makeup. But not many of us realize that some of these products can actually have harmful chemicals that sink into our skin leaving us more vulnerable. It is always best to personally check labels and ensure that the ingredients in the products we use are safe.
- Exercise Baby, exercise : Nothing beats sickness like a good cardio workout. Tough as this seems, exercise of at least 30 mints per day can drastically reduce our risks to being diagnosed with any lifestyle disease. Another element to exercise is Vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels have shown to increase risks to breast cancer. So get out, exercise and soak up the sun.
While, small changes to your lifestyle can certainly help you lower your risk to breast cancer- genetics still play a role. If you have family history of the condition, it is always best to keep an eye out for changes. You can speak to your doctor and find out what is the best solution for you as well.
Note : We are not doctors, everything we suggested in this article is what that gossip around town supports. If you feel you are more likely to be at risk please consult with your doctor.