October marks breast cancer awareness month, and we are showing our support by gathering insightful information about available protective measures to reduce your risk of getting breast cancer, possible risks and causes, as well as a few treatment methods. Breast cancer can affect both women and men, and there is a plethora of information about how we can go about managing our well-being in this regard. Take a look at some research below garnered by specialists in the field, but remember to always consult your doctor before committing to anything.
Protective measures, risks, and causes
The Breast Cancer UK organization shares five top tips for both women and men to help reduce the risk of breast cancer:
1) Reduce alcohol intake
Drinking alcohol has been known to increase levels of serum oestrogens, which are associated with increased breast cancer risk. Scientific evidence suggests a strong relationship between alcohol and breast cancer and even very low alcohol intake (less than one glass per day) can increase your risk of breast cancer.
2) Establish (and stick to) an exercise regime
Research suggests that increasing physical activity of any kind is beneficial to our well-being. Moderate exercise (about 150 minutes per week) is estimated to reduce breast cancer risk in post-menopausal women by 20-30%.
3) Commit to a healthy diet
A Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy diet that has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women. It is mainly based on vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, cereal grains, fish, and olive oil.
4) Reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals
Chemicals which can interfere with hormones (termed ‘endocrine disrupting chemicals’ or ‘EDCs’). Although more research is needed, Breast Cancer UK call for a precautionary approach to using chemicals which have polychlorinated biphenyls and the insecticide DDT (now banned), bisphenol A, parabens and phthalates.
5) Reduce your use of HRT and consider alternatives to oral contraception
The use of combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is known to increase the risk of breast cancer. Risk has been known to be immediately reduced when HRT is stopped and decreases over time. The use of combined oral contraceptives is also known to slightly increase breast cancer risk.
The organisation known as Cancer Research UK outlines a few methods of breast cancer treatment after diagnosis, although sometimes a combination of these might be advised:
- Hormonal therapy (also called endocrine therapy)
- Targeted cancer drugs
- Bone strengthening drugs (bisphosphonates)
- Clinical trials
Whether you’re seeking to get advice about prevention, screening, or treatment, always check with your doctor before taking it to heart. While information online from medical sources is known to be credible, doctors might be more aware of what the reality is.