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Breast Cancer: What we need to know
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the 2nd leading cause of cancer death (exceeded by lung cancer). The incidence of breast cancer has been increasing steadily from an incidence of 1:20 in 1960 to 1:8 women today.
incidence of breast cancer is very low in those in their 20s gradually
increasing and reaching a plateau at the age of 45 and increasing
dramatically after 50. Fifty percent of breast cancer is diagnosed
in women over 65 indicating the ongoing necessity of yearly screening
throughout a woman’s life.
cancer is caused when the cells that make up the breast tissue fail
to die, instead they endlessly divide and eventually grow into tumours.
If the problem can be detected early on, then there is a good chance
it can be successfully treated. The more the cancer has spread, the
more difficult it is to treat.
Family history - women with a hereditary genetic susceptibility account for 5-10 % of all breast cancer cases. They tend to have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer and these cancers usually occur in close family members, such as their grandmother, mother, aunt or sister, at an early age.
having children - The risk of having breast cancer is reduced by having
children at a younger age and the more children a woman has, the lower
Earlier diagnosis and better treatment have led to a 22 % fall in breast cancer death rates in the last 10 years.
Be Breast Aware - The best way to influence your chance of surviving breast cancer is to detect it early, so be breast aware and know what is normal for you, then you can act if you notice something wrong.
Attend routine breast screening - All women aged between 50 and 65 are invited to attend for a mammogram. Women over 65 years of age can ask to be screened.
Eat a healthy well-balanced diet - Experts believe diet is likely to play a part in the development of breast cancer. Eating a healthy, well-balanced, low-fat, high fibre diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, is beneficial to overall health and so is recommended.
Take regular exercise - Regular exercise contributes towards a healthier lifestyle and helps maintain a healthy body weight.
Obesity - Postmenopausal women who are overweight have an increased risk of breast cancer. Be sensible with alcohol -There is increasing evidence to suggest that drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing breast cancer.