Many women suffer from breast cancer. That woman may be your mother, sister, aunt, or even your best friend. Women are not very aware of breast cancer even though they should be because of the one in eight chance of getting it, and women do not take enough precaution to prevent it. Here are some ways you can prevent getting it, what can increase your risk, and how the treatments may harm you.
There are many ways to help prevent breast cancer. One of those being the environmental factors such as alcohol. Women should limit the alcohol they drink to one a day or seven a week. Breastfeeding also helps to prevent breast cancer. The more months you breastfeed, the lower the risk. The other way would be self-examination. Check yourself in the shower for lumps in your breasts. You can also check in the mirror for discoloration. Make sure you’re getting your regular check-ups and regular mammograms (50-74 years of age every two years) (-50 ask a doctor) (prevention n.p.). If you’re not taking your precautions, you could obviously get breast cancer which could cause death. Breast cancer can also spread to other areas such as the lymph nodes, bones, bone marrow, lungs, liver, brain, etc. You need to make sure you’re staying on top of everything so they can stop the spreading as soon as possible.
Treatments will help you but they may also harm you. The first is chemo brain, which is decrease in mental function. Women have reported memory loss and concentration problems after going through chemotherapy. Another is heart damage, the higher the dosage and the longer you’re doing chemo can increase your risk. If heart functions begin to decline, treatment will be stopped. Lastly, chemotherapy can harm the blood forming cells of the bone marrow. This causes increased chance of infection. Easy bruising or bleeding is also amongst the most common side-affects (chemotherapy n.p.). You would want to get checked often so that way you can help prevent it so your cancer can’t get to the point where you have to go through these treatments.
There are also many ways of increasing your risk of breast cancer. There is radiotherapy, and being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma can increase your risk. It can increase your risk because they are using radiotherapy to get rid of it. You could go with another treatment such as stem cell transplant with high dose treatment instead of radiation. Another very common contribution factor to the development of breast cancer is the consumption of alcohol. More than one drink a day can increase your risks. (This increases the risk because alcohol breaks down into a substance called acetaldehyde; this causes genetic mutation. This can trigger a response from the body leading to the development of cancerous cells (alcohol n.p.).) Drinking the recommended amount lowers the risk. Finally is NOT breastfeeding. If you do not breastfeed you have a higher risk of breast cancer. Breastfeeding will help decrease your risk because it can remove some of the possible carcinogens that are stored in the tissue of the breast (feeding n.p.). The more months the lower the risk (increases n.p.).
Breast cancer awareness is very big today. Women are still not taking enough precaution though. They say “it will never happen to me,” but nobody really knows. Make sure you’re taking precautions and getting your regular check-ups. Make sure you’re following some of the tips I just gave. Take time to do your research to make sure things you do yourself aren’t increasing your risk of breast cancer.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Breast Cancer prevention: how to reduce your risk.” Mayoclinic.org. Mayo Foundation, 2015. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.
“Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer.” Cancer.org. American Cancer Society, 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.
“Breast Cancer what Increases your risk.” Webmd.com. WebMD, 2015. Web. 18 Mar 2015.