Saturday, 28 October 2017

Expert: Having Children Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Rebecca Ejifoma

Experts like Medical Director (Ph.D), Dr. Sophia Merajver, has urged all women to have children and practice breastfeeding for more than 18 months as a way of reducing the risk of developing breast cancer.

Now, breast cancer is one of the commonest cancers women in Nigeria that kills, especially when diagnosed late.

It is to help reduce the mortality caused by this disease that medical experts and oncologists have recommended that women have children and breastfeed for more than 18 months, as Merajver listed seven risk factors women should beware of to keep them safe from cancer.

Having children
According to Merajver, having children fights cancer. Having children later in life or not having them at all increases a woman’s risk of developing cancer of the breast. She adds: “This is a risk factor that can always be controlled.”

However, research has it that not just having children but also breastfeeding them is pivotal to avoid such cancer. According to findings, many ladies fear to breastfeed for more than 12 months - they are afraid of having their breasts fall flat like the walls of Jericho in the Bible. But of course, remember the cliché, "What goes up must come down".

Although breastmilk, according to experts, gives a lasting benefit to both mother and child, many mothers still eschew breastfeeding. But interestingly,  whether you breastfeed or not, your boobs will sag one day.

Limit Alcohol
Women, who consume two to three drinks – or more – per day have 20 per cent higher breast cancer risks. The expert further, however, recommends that no more three to four bottles be taken per week.

Overweight or Obese
Those who are overweight or obese have a higher breast cancer risk especially after menopause when most of a woman’s oestrogen comes from fat tissue. This leads to higher a oestrogen level which can increase breast cancer risk.

Eat Healthfully
According to Merajver, it is best to eat a highly plant-dominated diet. Aim for five servings of vegetables and two of fruits daily. Look for lean protein, replace animal fat with polyunsaturated fats and avoid processed foods.

In this time of various sedentary lifestyles, the experts has mourned that inactivity could raise breast cancer risk. Each week, she advised, aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise (50 per cent to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (70 per cent to 85 per cent of maximum heart rate).

Know HRT's Risk
Hormone replacement theories (HRT) with high oesteogen levels can increase breast cancer risk, especially hormone therapy that combine oestrogen and progesterone.

"Breast cancer runs in some families because the genes are present in the family.
You can’t change your family history. However, you can modify certain traits to lower your chances of developing breast cancer," Merajver has said.

Indeed, she explained that there are risk factors that can be controlled, and there are risk factors that connot be controlled. "There are lifestyle factors you can modify — some more easily than others. Whether you have a genetic predisposition for breast cancer, there are changes anyone can make to reduce risk of the disease."

She, therefore, recommended women to speak to a specialist if there is a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer. If available, you may be offered genetic screening.

Coined from (Credit) - Jessica Webster Sendra, Michigan Health, 5 October

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