Whenever we think of breast health, the tendency is to associate this idea with breast cancer. And for women especially, breast health is also a concern, no matter what stage of life. Although breast cancer can occur in men as well, it is more prevalent in women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and, each year, about 40,000 women die from the disease. From puberty through the elder years, it's imperative for a woman to take care of her breasts, from the inside out, both physically and emotionally. Education around breast health and awareness of how to take care of them is key.
The "bust musts" for breast health go beyond screenings and routine self-exams. Until recently, the prevalent thinking was that screenings are the best way to detect and treat cancer before it metastasizes. However, increasing numbers of false-positive tests have led to unnecessary medical treatment. In some cases, screenings have failed to detect active tumours. It could be that timing for screenings should be personalized, based on health and family history, age, and lifestyle habits.
More important than early detection is the power of prevention in the hands of every woman. This includes properly performing breast self-exams (BSE), and taking care of body and mind in ways that boost breast health.
Ways to Boost Breast Health
Know Your Bosom
It's important for a woman to be familiar with the look and feel of her own breasts. Performing a monthly Breast Self Exam (BSE) is the best way to detect a lump or other abnormality. There are plenty of videos online that can actually walk you through on how to conduct a BSE properly.
In general, excessive stress has negative effects on health. Research indicates that stress can also increase your risk for breast cancer as well as its recurrence. Because stress impairs immunity, there is evidence that it can alter how aggressively cancer develops. To manage stress, try yoga, meditation, or other mindfulness exercise such as Qi Gong or Tai Chi. Even spending time with loved ones, or playing with your pet can have a direct physiological effect on stress levels.
Go for Green
A component of green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (ECCG) is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to suppress the growth of new blood vessels in tumours. ECCG also seems to play a role in keeping cancer cells from destroying healthy tissue. Enjoy at least a cup or two of green tea daily.