October is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. With advances in early detection, diagnosis and treatment, there is a good chance that the disease can be cured. However, in lower and-middle-income countries, most cases are detected too late and curative treatment is often no longer an option.
Yesterday, I read a good article by Dr. Joel Kahn. According to Dr. Kahn, breast cancer awareness should focus on prevention and not just early detection, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. With adequate prevention and a healthy lifestyle, all women can increase their chances of avoiding the disease. And, women who survive breast cancer should be encouraged to adhere to prevention measures.
While screening, detection and treatment are important, incorporating healthy lifestyle habits can significantly reduce breast cancer risk. The recommendations below are based on the WCRF/AICR Second Expert Report for cancer prevention:
1. Maintain a healthy weight for your body type.
2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day.
3. Avoid sugary drinks and nutrient-poor junk foods.
4. Base your diet on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
5. Limit your consumption of red meat (beef, pork, lamb).
6. Avoid processed meat and foods processed with salt (sodium).
7. Limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women, a day.
8. Do not smoke or don’t use tobacco.
9. Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer.
10. For mothers who are able to breastfeed, it is best if you exclusively breasfeed your baby for at least six months.