Some of the factors linked to breast cancer are inherited gene mutation, simply being a woman, and old age— you cannot do much about that. But there is still a lot you can do to prevent the disease that has claimed the lives of many women.
Experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research estimate that healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent 38 percent of the breast cancer cases diagnosed every year in Africa, below are the ways the study suggests you can protect yourself.
Exercise. Strong evidence suggests that being physically active helps protect you against breast cancer. A brisk walk of up to at least 75 minutes a week may lower the risk by 18 percent. Exercising 10 to 19 hours a week may reduce the risk by approximately 30 percent. The best goal is an hour a day, five days a week.
Maintain healthy weight .This is important because gaining weight after the age of 18 significantly impacts breast cancer, and being overweight after menopause can increase your risk by 30 to 60 percent.
Eat a well-rounded diet. No food by itself has been shown to protect against cancer, but try to fill at least two thirds of your plate with plant foods—lots of colourful vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans.
Drink alcohol sparingly. Three to six times a week could increase your risk by 15 percent, two or more a day by 51 percent.
You will need plenty of foliate, especially if you do drink, because it may leave you vulnerable. Good sources are dried beans and peas, leafy greens, and fruits. Or take 400 mcg of folic acid daily.
Grilled meat can produce carcinogens. Marinate, precook, and grill your meat at lower temperatures to keep it from charring. Cut your risk further by adding rosemary and cancer-fighting spices like turmeric and cumin.
Breast-feed. Experts recommend nursing exclusively for six months. Protection is believed to come in form of a reduction in lifetime exposure to estrogen, a key factor in the growth of breast cancer tumors.
Avoid hormone therapy. If you and your doctor feel that you need it for alleviate menopausal symptoms, take the lowest dose possible and for the shortest amount of time.
Snack on walnuts. A recent study done on mice showed that eating walnuts daily could reduce the risk.
Check your vitamin D level. Many women lack vitamin D, a deficiency associated with breast cancer. A typical supplemental daily dose is 600 to 2,000 IUs.
Take fish oil supplements containing omega 3s. They may help fend off cancer, but make sure the supplements are from mercury-free fish; take 1,000 to 2,000 mg each day.