The Breast Cancer Awareness Month is marked across the world every October to make the people aware that breast cancer is curable if detected early and given the right treatment at the right time. Worldwide, breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women. It accounts for 2.4 million new cases and 5.2 lakh deaths every year. The incidence of breast cancer is increasing in Asian countries, and it can be due to an increase in life expectancy, increasing urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles
Breast cancer can be considered as the number one cancer among the urban females in our country with an age-adjusted incidence of 25 per 100,000 women. According to Globocan 2012, India along with the US and China collectively accounts for 33% of global breast cancer burden. Recent studies have shown that Indian women with breast cancer are found a decade younger compared to western women.
Expert reports estimate that one in three breast cancer cases could be prevented by lifestyle modifications. Those modifications include such basics as weight management, physical activity, nutrition, and alcohol consumption, among others.
Numerous studies focused on breast cancer prevention point that lifestyle modifications offer the best and easiest form of prevention.
In 2018, The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research updated its breast cancer prevention recommendations which included some of the more common modifiable elements of breast cancer risk with respect to exercise, diet, alcohol, and breastfeeding. The collective recommendations were based on many proven facts, including
– Obesity increases the risk of breast cancer by 2 times in postmenopausal women
-Body fatness is suggested to increase cancer risk as a result of hyperinsulinemia , increased estradiol (female hormone), and inflammation.
-Studies estimate that physical activity alone could prevent one in eight breast cancer cases.
-Alcohol is attributable to 6.4% of breast cancer cases occurring in the developed countries
-Any amount of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer and the more a woman drinks, the higher her risk of breast cancer.
The Cancer Update Project from 2017 observed a significant inverse relationship between non-starch vegetable consumption and a lower risk of breast cancer.
Given the magnitude of breast cancer occurrence and the accumulated evidence support prevention as the most cost-effective, long-term strategy for reducing breast cancer risk.
*CANCER SPECIALIST, KOCHI