I am sure many of you saw the pink ribbon around last month; and may have even wondered what it was for. October was Breast Cancer Awareness month and wearing the pink ribbon showed support for the fight against breast cancer.
What is breast cancer? It is an abnormal growth of cells that begin in the breast tissue (which covers not only the breast but also the area from the collarbone to the armpit and the chest bone). It is a cancer that may affect not only women, but also men.
The following are signs of breast cancer:
- A lump in or near the breast, or in the underarm area
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- Nipple discharge or tenderness
- An inverted nipple
- Ridges or pitting on the breast (the skin looks a bit like an orange peel)
- A change in the look or feel of the breasts, areola or nipple
If we makes certain changes in our lifestyle, we can work towards preventing the cancer from destroying our cells. The lifestyle prevention tips are:
- Have regular physical exercise (minimum 30 minutes each day).
- Go for your yearly check-up. Women between the ages of 20 and 39 should have their breasts examined every 3 years by their health care professional. For those 40 years or older, they should be examined as part of their annual check-up. In addition, they should have a mammogram annually.
- Add supplements to your diet; in particular folic acid, vitamin D and antioxidants.
- Reduce exposure to xenoestrogens. These chemicals have estrogen-like activity and are found in common pesticides and industrial pollutants; as well as in the hormone residues found in meat, poultry and dairy products.
- Avoid exposure to radiation. You need to therefore limit the number of chest x-rays you have.
- Talk with your doctor and let him know if you have relatives who have had breast cancer. As a result you will be monitored more closely.
Did you wear a pink ribbon last month? What other tips do you know to prevent breast cancer?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012