It’s the most common cancer to affect women, but not many of us realise that whilst five per cent of all breast cancer cases are hereditary, 90 percent of cases are down to lifestyle choices. Breast cancer has affected many celebrities, including Kylie and SATC’s Cynthia Nixon, who have both spoken openly about their battle against the disease. Caused by the uncontrolled growth of breast cells, whilst you can’t change your genetic make up, Dr. Purvi Gupta, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Specialist at the Welcare Clinic reveals the steps you can take to minimise the risks…
1 Check your bra: Women who wear tight-fitting bras 24 hours-a-day are 125 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who do not wear bras at all. And wearing the wrong size bra stops the lymphatic system from flowing freely, so make sure you’re wearing the correct size and take it off at night.
2 Go Organic: Non-organic foods are often loaded with chemicals which cannot be washed off, and only about 20 per cent of the chemicals in fruits and vegetables are on the surface, while the remainder lies inside the plant.
3 Get Active: Regular exercise is a protective factor against breast cancer – it helps keep weight and fat levels down. Aim to exercise at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes.
4 Breastfeed Your Babies: Women who have their first baby above the age of 30 have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. Researchers say factors such as the earlier a woman has her first baby, along with breastfeeding, help to lower the risk.
5 Kick The Habit: Older women who puff on cigarettes may be more likely to develop breast cancer than women who have never smoked.
6 Check Your Breasts: Women from the age of 20 upwards should carry out a self-examination one a month. Visit www.safeandsound.aefor guidance.
Scientists say few simple changes to our daily diet could also help ward off breast cancer. Upping your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and ditching saturated fat found in processed foods, meat and full fat dairy, as well as cutting alcohol consumption can lower the chances of developing the disease by a quarter.
A diet packed with green veg, lycopene and betacarotene-rich foods, (red and yellow foods) can fight off cancer-causing free radicals, whilst foods containing omega-3 fats boost the immune system’s ability to fight cancer.