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Eat Right to Avoid Breast Cancer

Times of India
10 October
By , Shailvee Sharda
Lucknow , India

Breast Cancer Awareness Day
Researches Show That Disease Risk Increases With Intake Of Alcohol And Smoking

A diet devoid of red meat and animal fats, including dairy fat in cheese, milk, and ice–cream is the best possible way to prevent breast cancer, which affects one in 21 women in the country.

Eat Right to Avoid Breast Cancer

Studies show that the risk of breast cancer amplifies with the intake of alcohol. Alcohol limits the liver’s ability to control levels of oestrogen in blood. This increases the risk of breast cancer. Smoking too accelerates the risk of breast cancer.

The suggestion on change in food habits to prevent breast cancer comes from American institute for Cancer Research after it reviewed 81 new studies on links between lifestyle and cancer. “About 40% of all breast cancer cases could be prevented, if women kept a healthy weight, consumed less alcohol, exercised more and breastfed their babies,” said the paper recommending a low–fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables for good health. “Western lifestyle, increased consumption of fat products, obesity, late marriages, delayed child birth and less number of children being conceived leading to reduced breastfeeding and use of some contraceptives, are believed to be behind the increased risk of breast cancer. This cancer is also inevitable with an ageing population,” Dr Vinod Raina from All India Institute of Medical Sciences told TOI.

The advice becomes important knowing that incidents of breast cancer doubled in India in the last two decades.

Not only this, Indian Council of Medical Research data shows that breast cancer has outdone cervix cancer to become the number one cancer among women in India. It also said that more urban women than rural ones are at the risk of breast cancer. Due to low awareness, one patient in every 13 minutes dies of breast cancer in India.

In the city about 750 new cases are figuring annually. “We were forced to start a dedicated OPD for breast cancer only because of the volume of cases,” said Dr Sanjeev Mishra, surgical oncologist at Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University.

Experts say that 70% breast cancer cases in India do not show the identified risk factors. “About 50% of the cases are below 45 years of age. This makes early detection of the disease a challenge, as the breasts are generally dense and finding a lump is difficult. With this, awareness becomes the chief strategy for prevention that begins with self–examination of breasts,” said Dr Mishra. “Lifestyle, diet and exercise are flexible factors,” he added.

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