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Understanding breast cancer

Deepika Rathod

Last week’s article discussed what breast cancer is. This week we shall delve into the causes and risk factors for the same. A strong family history of breast cancer makes one susceptible to it. There are a number of inherited mutated genes which increase the likelihood of breast cancer. These genes have been identified as breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2), and these significantly increase the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Exposure to oestrogen for a long period of time increases the risk of breast cancer. Exposure to oestrogen could be due to the early onset of menstruation or entering menopause later; during the reproductive stage our body is exposed to higher levels of oestrogen. Breastfeeding is important as it reduces the chances of breast cancer. Pregnancy followed by breastfeeding reduces a woman’s exposure to oestrogen. The oestrogen begins increasing once breast feeding is stopped.

Obesity is another risk factor, so it is better to control one’s weight in order to stay healthy and be active. Many girls and women take oral contraceptive pills to keep their menses in check. Birth control pills contain high amounts of oestrogen and progestin that regulate menses in a timely manner. Over consumption of these pills puts one at a risk of developing breast cancer.

People who are exposed to certain carcinogens (tobacco, asbestos, UV rays, alcohol, pollution, etc.) and endocrine disruptors (chemicals that help the function of endocrine system) at the workplace are also likely to experience breast cancer, cancer and other health hazards. Age and activity too are really important when it comes to staying away from this disease. As one grows older it is important to get checked or screened regularly in order to keep a check on one’s bodily functions.

Activity is important as it improves blood circulation and detoxifies the body. One should remember that accumulated toxins lead to health issues. Emotional health also plays an important role in keeping one away from the disease. Too much stress, internalising emotions, regrets, jealousy, fear, anger, trauma, etc, leads to increased cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol remains in the body for longer periods of time and can cause changes in the body which can lead to cancer.

These are a few risk factors or causes of cancer that many may be facing at some point of time. We need to keep our body’s environment and home clean to avoid any drastic effect on our system.

Stay healthy and see you soon with a few tips on how to manage health well to stay away from cancer.

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