Recently breast cancer was brought under the spotlight again, when world famous actress Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy to lower her risk of contracting the disease. This has unfortunately caused a disturbing trend, where women are going to the extreme - by undergoing preventative surgery to mitigate their own risk of getting breast cancer.
In addition, recent research from the Harvard School of Public Health 1has found that young women with breast cancer in one of their breasts are overestimating the risk of getting cancer in the other breast, and are opting to have the healthy breast removed as well.
It is important for women to be aware that when it comes to breast cancer, each circumstance is different. Ideally, one should sit with their doctor to discuss the various options available with regards to treatment, based on accurate data. Following this discussion, an informed decision can be confidently made with the best way forward for treatment.
Overall, while one can't do anything about the genes they are born with, committing to a healthier lifestyle will certainly lower the risk of contracting breast cancer. Some preventative measures that one can take to avoid breast cancer, include:
- Regular exercise: besides the fact that exercise has many health benefits in general, research2 from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Food Science has found that physical activity greatly reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. It changes the way the hormone oestrogen is broken down, where lower levels mean less chance of contracting breast cancer.
- Healthy diet: there are some super foods3 that scientists believe should be incorporated into a healthy diet, namely - broccoli, garlic, pomegranate, walnuts, lentils, berries and tomatoes.
- Lowering alcohol consumption: Breast Cancer Org states that when compared to women who don't drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of getting breast cancer. Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day.4
- Breast examination: health practitioners encourage women of all ages to perform self-breast exams at least once a month. These are easy and painless and can avert serious problems later.
Looking at the advances in cancer treatment, the breast cancer mortality rate has dropped significantly. Sadly if you are diagnosed, there’s no denying that surviving cancer will impact all aspects of your life, including your financial wellbeing. Thus, it becomes critical to invest in dread disease cover, so that in the instance that you do contract breast cancer [or any other dread disease] you will reduce the financial impact that the diagnosis may have on your current lifestyle. This type of cover can be used to replace your income, cover living expenses, car instalments, bond repayments and any of your medical expenses.
Pre-emptive action is better than cure. Regular visits to the doctor can help identify and treat breast infections as well as identify early warning signs. Remember to always seek the advice of a medical practitioner and don’t be afraid to debate the best possible treatment for your condition if you are diagnosed.