Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. In fact, this disease is also the leading cause of death for women. In Indonesia, it is estimated that there are around 350,000 women with breast cancer. But don't worry too much, there are many ways to prevent breast cancer that you can try yourself.
Habits of living a healthy life, such as eating more fruit, staying away from alcoholic beverages, and being active in sports can help prevent breast cancer.
As a First Step, Recognize the Risk of Breast Cancer
Please note that there are risks associated with breast cancer that cannot be avoided, such as being born a woman, genetic factors, and reaching a certain age. Let's discuss them one by one.
- genetic factorsIt is undeniable, genetic factors are very influential on the possibility of breast cancer. This factor contributes to the disease as much as 5-10 percent. However, there are also breast cancer patients who have absolutely no family history of the disease. This means that environmental factors also influence, so there is still high hope to be able to prevent breast cancer through a healthy lifestyle.
- FactorIn the case of breast cancer, the older the woman is considered the more at risk of developing this disease. The average case of breast cancer is found in women aged over 50 years. Women who have their first period under the age of 12 and women who experience menopause after the age of 55 are also at risk of developing breast cancer.
- FactorPregnancy also has something to do with breast cancer. The risk of developing breast cancer is higher in adult women who have never been pregnant, are pregnant for the first time over the age of 30, and are not breastfeeding.
- FactorIn addition to the factors mentioned above, there are other factors that increase the risk of breast cancer. These factors include having had breast cancer before, having had ovarian cancer, having dense breast tissue, and having been exposed to radiation in the chest area in childhood and adolescence.
Already Know the Risks, Now Focus on Prevention
In addition to the risk factors above, there are also risk factors that can actually be avoided. You can prevent breast cancer by avoiding these factors, namely by doing the following:
- Maintain ideal body weight
Changes in body weight and the time of weight gain are thought to be related to the state of the hormones estrogen and insulin in the body. Seeing this risk, maintaining an ideal body weight is one way to prevent breast cancer that you can do.
- Prioritize foodA healthy diet by prioritizing the intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts including soybeans, healthy oils, and high antioxidants, can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Women who have had breast cancer can have a better quality of life if they avoid fatty foods. Fatty meats, sausages, cream, margarine, butter, and oil are various types of foods that should be avoided as an effort to prevent breast cancer.
- Make time forBeing physically active can lower the risk of breast cancer. In contrast, the risk of breast cancer increases in women who have not been physically active for years. The standard for moderate-intensity exercise (such as cycling and brisk walking) is 2 hours and 30 minutes per week.
- Stop any smoking habitsThose of you who have never smoked still have a 6-9 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who have never smoked at all. You can experience worse conditions if you are still actively smoking, which is 7-13 percent more at risk for breast cancer.
- Limiting alcoholic drinksConsuming one alcoholic drink per day can increase the risk of breast cancer by 7-12 percent. The potential for breast cancer will be higher if you usually drink more than a glass of alcoholic beverages per day. This can happen because there is a link between alcohol levels and changes in the amount of hormones in the blood. Therefore, reducing alcohol consumption is also one way to prevent breast cancer. Even if possible, it is advisable to stop it altogether.
- Breastfeed your baby regularlyBreastfeeding a baby can help lower the risk of breast cancer by up to 22 percent. So far not known for sure why breastfeeding can prevent breast cancer. However, it is suspected that breastfeeding can help balance hormones, prevent exposure to cancer-causing substances, and avoid damage to breast cells.
- Limiting hormone therapyHormone therapy is usually done by women associated with menopause. Therapy using the hormones estrogen and progesterone is usually long-term. Therefore, this therapy increases the risk of breast cancer. If you really need hormone therapy, consult a doctor so that hormone levels can be reduced.
- Avoid exposureThere are several things that may expose you to high levels of radiation, such as undergoing a CT scan, working in a health facility that uses radiation, and being exposed to vehicle fumes or chemicals. So, protect yourself from such exposure and avoid it as much as possible.
Recognizing Existing Changes
The most common thing to recognize changes in the breast is to do an independent examination called BSE, which is to feel the breast itself to detect any abnormalities. Do not be lazy to do it because this examination is very important to detect breast cancer early.
In addition to self-examination, you are also recommended to have regular check-ups with your doctor. The doctor will perform a mammogram or breast ultrasound to check the condition of the breast glands. The goal is that if there are signs of breast cancer, it can be treated immediately.