October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As this is a cause I feel strongly committed to, I decided it’s time to pitch in and write about it. From the moment I wake up, there is so little time to reflect on anything. But after talking to many women - those who are working in offices and those who are at home, one thing is clear: women get no rest or "Me" time. It is your life, your body and your happiness. Make time for your health no matter what.
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Breast Cancer: Early Detection, Exercise and Detecting Breast Density
Here are seven facts you need to know about your breasts – and what you can do to protect them [Source: Prevention Magazine, October 2014]
- Doctors say that early detection of breast cancer can improve the chances of survival by a whopping 99%. Start yearly breast check ups and mammograms. It is not enough to get cleared. Remember to follow up with your doctor on a regular basis.
2. This is one of the newest recommendations from oncologists: Find out how dense your breasts are. How do you find out? Ask the radiologist who is taking your mammogram to check your breast density. If the density is low, follow up regularly. If it’s high, consult your doctor at once.
3. Exercise alters oestrogen metabolism and lowers a woman’s breast cancer risk. To protect yourself from breast cancer and all cancers, doctors recommend 30 minutes of exercise for five days a week.
4. Women who consistently breast-feed for the first six months have a reduced 10% risk of death from cancer. Why? Breast feeding lowers the levels of oestrogen and progestin in a woman’s blood and increases the level of oxytocin. After a substantial period of breast feeding – 6 months to one year – the hormones together reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
5. Harvard researchers found that women who had the highest cartenoid levels in their blood had a 19% lower risk of blood cancer than those with the lowest levels. You can find cartenoids in fruits and vegetables such as carrots, leafy greens and red bell peppers.
6. According to Ayurveda, turmeric has many medicinal benefits. Recent studies show that its key compound curcumin can kill cancer cells. So, add more of this powerful spice to your daily meals.
7. Surround yourself with positive energy or practice being quiet so that you can listen to your inner self. Find ways to improve whatever you like to do. Show love to yourself more than before. Find joy in little things – a walk in the park, singing a song you love, being with the people who care about you and don’t make you feel bad about yourself.
If you are contemplating breast cancer treatment, check my earlier post on 'How to choose your doctor and get your body confidence back.'
Don’t let cancer make you bitter. Make it a learning experience to feel better, wise and happier. [Medical inputs: Prevention Magazine October 2014]