Having met and been associated with lots of women who suffer from breast cancer or have suffered from it in the past I am very passionate about it and really do want to do my bit to spread awareness. So the other day I went to Shiro which hosted the breast cancer awareness brunch in association with Damiani Jewellery and artist Blanca Peralta for all its patrons in the capital. Also invited were notable speakers like Dr.Sareen to have interactive sessions on breast cancer awareness with the guests. You can still buy the elegant Damiani jewelry or artwork by Blanca Peralta, proceeds of which will go to the Forum for Breast Cancer Protection.
I had a chat with Dr. Sareen and here are few scary facts she put forward which increase the risk for Breast Cancer (though this is India related other women can also get awareness and go for check up regularly)
Breast Cancer is increasing in incidence with about 90,000 deaths a year being caused by it
- 1 in 25 women in India are susceptible to develop Breast Cancer in their lifetime unfortunately 65% only discover it in stages 3 and 4 which there is no cure.
- Most women feel too shy to talk about breast cancer and alot believe it cannot happen to them. Since there is no known cause for this everyone is susceptible and the older we get the more serious we should take check ups.
- Factors which can increase or reduce risk
Family history or personal history of Breast Cancer. There is a higher risk for women who have family members or if they get it in one breast to develop cancer. This cannot be avoided or helped.
- Women who have had more menstrual cycles because they started menstruating early (before age 12) and/or went through menopause later (after age 55) have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. The increase in risk may be due to a longer lifetime exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Again this cannot be helped as a lot of urban women with nutritious lifestyles start menstruating early and reach menopause later.
- Hormone therapy after Menopause, this in recent studies has shown to increase the risk of Breast Cancer in women and can be avoided.
- Having children before the age of 35 and more than one child reduces risk of breast cancer as does breast-feeding.
- maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle and avoiding obesity also reduces risk.
- Early detection
- Breast Self examination once a month after the age of 20.
- Clinical examination once a year after the age of 30.
- Mammogram once in two years after the age of 40.
- Mammogram once a year after the age of 50.
Besides this especially in India women are encouraged to check their own breasts for any sign for abnormality like lumps, distortion, discharge around nipples.
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