Ask the doctor

Exercise to reduce risk of breast cancerPhysical activities such as walking can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by lowering the estrogen levels 

Exercise to reduce risk of breast cancer

Physical activities such as walking can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by lowering the estrogen levels 

Dr Reonald Kayonde, the head of cancer department in Rwanda Biomedical Centre, says several studies in the field have proved that women who engage in regular exercise have minimal chances of getting breast cancer.

“Exercise reduces total body fat, may change the internal makeup of a woman’s body and make it harder for breast cancer to take hold,” Dr Kayonde says.

He added that higher estrogen levels comes from fat tissue after menopause and having more fat tissue raises estrogen levels and in turn breast cancer risk.

“Exercise may be as effective as medication in treating common diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, breast cancer; and has benefits for obesity prevention,” the medic says.

According to Dr Kayonde, being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer, so women should control over weight, physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight most especially in health adults, to spend at least 75 minutes a week practicing aerobic activity.

Breastfeeding helping breast cancer prevention, because longer you breast feed, the greater the protective effect, hormonal changes occur during pregnancy changes that, may increase a women`s chances of developing breast cancer in her life.

Dr Kayonde says there are two types of cancer; Ductal carcinoma in intraductal carcinoma is breast cancer in the lining of the milk duct that has not yet invaded nearby tissues. It may progress to invasive cancer if not treated.

Lobular carcinoma in situ is a marker for an increased risk of invasive cancer in the same or both breasts, Dr Kayonde said.

Is herpes a lifelong infection?

Dear doctor;

I recently tested for HIV and the results were negative. However, my Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)-1 and HSV-2 tested positive. How can herpes infection be treated? Is it a lifelong infection? James, 34.

Dear James;

Herpes simplex is a viral infection. There are two types of viruses; type 1 and 2. The virus enters the body from body fluids of an infected person and through direct skin-to-skin contact. It may appear as lesions over or around the mouth, and eyes(commonly herpes simplex type 1) or genital lesions(Herpes simplex type 2).

But in many cases, there may be no symptoms. The virus attaches itself to nerve cells after gaining entry  and keeps on being shed and multiplying but is never eradicated. One may become sick later if the body’s immunity goes down.One, therefore, has to take antiviral drugs for life to prevent replication of the virus.

What causes the slanting of a child’s head?

Dear doctor;

My two-year-old daughter slants her head towards the right. This happens in the morning and when she is playing. I noticed it one-and-a half years back, but thought it would stop time. What could be the cause of this? Claire

Dear Claire;

You have not stated whether  she was born normally or had some complications, whether her growth has been normal so far, whether there are any associated poor eating, crying, pain on neck movements, blinking away from lights, ear discharge or any other physical problems. If the answer to all the above all is no, then there is nothing to worry about. She has simply developed a habit. Try to divert her attention when she does so, ask her to keep her head straight. You may physically change the position of her head if you see it tilted. Gradually, she will give up this habit. Do not push her hard over it.

Could sore throat be an indicator that I contracted HIV/Aids?

Dear doctor;

I am a 26-year-old male, and I had unprotected sex a year ago with a woman of unknown HIV status (a call girl). I have since tested several times and all the reports indicate that I am HIV-negative. However, I sometimes get sore throat. Does that mean I have contracted the infection? Worried man.

Dear worried man;

If a person tests for HIV immediately after sexual intercourse with an infected person, the test may turn out negative as antibodies (proteins of body’s  defense system) may not have been  formed in the blood by that time. There is, therefore, need for a follow-up test after three months. This test will inevitably be positive if a person is infected. However, under rare occassions, the window period may extend to six months. If the test is still negative after six months, infection is unlikely. But you have to be careful in future because if you continue indulging in unprotected sex, you risk getting infected. The sore throat is due to recurrent exposure to germs and cold weather. Inadequate treatment taken can also lead to relapse of sore throat. It can be treated by getting a throat swab done to check for the infecting microbes and the antibiotic which will be suitable to remove it. Taking a complete dose of that antibiotic will cure it..

How can diabetes be contained?

Dear doctor;

I am a 35-year-old man having high blood pressure for over a year now. Recently, I have tested positive for diabetes. What precautions should I take? Muhumuza.

Dear Muhumiza;

High blood pressure and diabetes are major diseases in the modern world. Physical and mental stress, lack of physical activity, eating junk food, tobacco and alcohol are the common risk factors. Heredity is also responsible  for these problems. Firstly you need to be relaxed both physically and mentally. Avoid foods with high fat content like butter, margarine, cheese, deep fried substances, meat and eggs(except fish). Take more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and cereals. Avoid alcohol and smoking. It is vital to exercise regularly.  Exercises like brisk walking, jogging, yoga are very useful but avoid  muscle building exercises. Medicines are prescribed on the basis of blood pressure and blood sugar levels. They  should be taken regularly.

Can sexual fluid onto the body cause infection?

Dear doctor,

I recently had sexual intercourse with a woman who squirted on me before I had worn a condom. Could that also cause HIV infection? Can the fluid alone cause infection or must there be other things? Hamza

Dear Hamza;

It is unlikely for one to get HIV infection just because of squirting of a partner, unless your immunity is very low. Nevertheless, the HIV virus can pass through body fluids, though the concentration is less in genital fluids and negligible in urine as compared to blood.  It is the frequency of the sex act which makes one more susceptible to infection. But  even if the virus enters the body in a small quantity, it does multiply and make one infected.  You can get a test done now and another after three months to be sure that you are not infected. Next time, avoid being carried away by passion. Check the HIV status of your partner and always use a condom correctly.


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