Preventing breast cancer with screening and lifestyle

Preventing breast cancer with screening and lifestyle

Breast cancer affects one in eight women. It is a very high percentage. It is, in fact, the most frequent cancer in women. In Italy alone, more than 48,000 cases are diagnosed every year. How to do prevention?

Preventing breast cancer with screening and lifestyle

When we talk about breast cancer prevention we generally refer to the early diagnosis of breast cancer and we should perhaps speak more properly of prevention of the consequences of breast cancer: the sooner it is diagnosed, in fact, the more the chances of overcoming the disease increase.

There are, however, some habits, some gestures, some lifestyles that can help a woman to prevent the onset of breast cancer or in any case to stem the other risk factors.

Risk factors for breast cancer

The main risk factors for breast cancer are:

  • Family history, about 5-7% of cases are hereditary.
  • Over 40 years of age;
  • Smoking of cigarettes;
  • Diet low in plant foods and rich in animal fats;
  • Sedentary lifestyle.

There are also some factors related to reproductive life that can positively or negatively influence the risk of developing breast cancer.

Read also Parabens and breast cancer: is there a correlation?

Breast cancer prevention, early diagnosis

Although breast cancer predominantly affects women over the age of 40, it is never too early to start having your breasts checked . Let’s see what should be done, age by age:

  • Between 20 and 40 years : breast self- examination , once a month, between the seventh and fourteenth day of the menstrual cycle. An annual breast visit to the gynecologist or other experienced physician is also recommended. In particular cases, for example for the discovery of a lump or for familiarity, it is generally deepened with ultrasound or with even more specific tests. In general, however, mammography is not recommended in this age group due to the very dense structure of the breast tissue which can make the results unclear.
  • Between 40 and 50 years : during the periodic control of the breast it is possible to start mammography , again associating this examination with ultrasound as the structure of the breast continues to be dense. Mammography from the age of 40 is especially recommended for women with a family history of breast cancer.
  • Between the ages of 50 and 69,  the risk of developing breast cancer is very high; women in this age group are typically advised to have a mammogram every two years .

In addition to mammography and ultrasound, other tests are now available that allow the early diagnosis of breast cancer and are reserved for selected cases, generally those in which the risk is very high or in which the presence of a tumor is already suspected.

Have you ever heard of genetic testing? A percentage of breast cancers is genetic in nature and is due to the presence in the DNA of some mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

The genetic test is performed with a blood sample. A special prevention plan is proposed to women with an established genetic predisposition , which generally provides for a check-up every six months.

The lifestyle that helps you prevent breast cancer

As we said, early diagnosis helps to detect early stage breast cancer, favoring a good prognosis of the disease. But there are some actions, some eating and lifestyle habits that can help us prevent the onset of breast cancer and other types of neoplasia.

  • Breastfeed . Breastfeeding for longer than one year is considered a protective factor against breast and ovarian cancer . The longer you breastfeed, the greater the benefit, which accumulates in the various maternity wards.
  • Playing sports . According to a recent meta – analysis, which involved a very large number of women, constant physical activity reduces the risk of developing breast cancer by 12% .
  • Eat well , paying attention to calorie density, limiting the consumption of red and preserved meats, and consuming many plant foods. Also, avoid eating mold-contaminated foods and over-roasted meat . Salt consumption should be limited to no more than 5 grams per day.
  • Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages and avoid cigarette smoking .
  • Maintain your body weight within the normal rang

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