How to Prevent Breast Cancer

Natural methods

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Can breast cancer be prevented? Or at least, can the chances of getting breast cancer be decreased?

The answer is - Although breast cancer cannot be completely prevented, the risks of getting it can be considerably decreased.

The risks of getting breast cancer can be lowered by changing those risk factors that can be changed.

  • Being Aware of the Risk factors: Being aware of the risk factors is a giant step in itself. Certain risk factors can be changed. Limiting alcohol intake, exercising regularly and decreasing the body weight can help decrease the risk to some extent. Breastfeeding for as long as possible and avoiding Hormone Replacement Therapy if there are no specific symptoms of menopause can also help.

  • Self Examination: Every woman needs to know the correct method of examining her breasts so that any lumps or other symptoms of breast cancer can be detected early. Although breast self examination is not completely reliable, it does help to pick up some breast cancers.

    Breast Self Examination

  • Regular Mammograms after the age of 40 years:According to the National Cancer Institute, women in their forties and older should have mammograms every 1 to 2 years. In women who have a strong family history, it is possible that mammograms may be needed even more frequently.

  • Genetic Testing: A woman who has any of the following factors should go in for genetic testing.
    • Strong Family History:
      • Two first-degree relatives (mother, sisters, daughters) with breast cancer, one of whom was diagnosed when they were younger than 50.
      • Three or more first or second-degree relatives (includes grandmothers, aunts, cousins) diagnosed with breast cancer.
      • Both breast and ovarian cancer among first- and second-degree relatives.
      • A first-degree relative diagnosed with cancer in both breasts.
      • Two or more first or second-degree relatives diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
      • A male relative with breast cancer.

    • Previous Breast Conditions: Breast conditions, especially Ductal Breast Cancer in situ (DCIS) and Lobular Cancer in situ (LCIS) or biopsies that have shown pre-cancerous changes.

    • Known Mutation: Genetic testing should also be done if a woman is known to have a genetic mutation of a BRCA gene.

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