With the awareness campaigns and events happening throughout Pakistan and beyond, we all are sometimes left stuck up on the notion of what exactly a breast cancer is. Yes, it is a disease, there is no rocket science to understanding that. But, it is not just another disease, it is rather something that has claimed lives of millions and millions of women around the world.
It is not just a form of cancer, but one that goes unnoticed for a good amount of time and when it appears, it takes the smile away from a woman. What starts with just a lump or an uneasy feeling sometimes has the capability of taking entire lives.
Having said that, what exactly is breast cancer?
How can you detect it, and that too on the stages when there is a going back?
Now How do you prevent it, and what can be done to protect yourself from it?
How can you recover and move to a healthy lifestyle, if you were unfortunate enough to contract it?
These might seem like questions piling up, but we do have answers to these. It is a common saying that prevention is better than cure. So, be more vigilant now than having to face problems later. Let’s take an in-depth look at a menace that we call breast cancer.
How To Detect Breast Cancer?
Starting off, breast cancer is basically any anomaly or a cancerous lump in your breast. While there is no single way through which you can detect it, but a little self-examination can go a long way. Only if you are aware of what to look for will you be able to predict that something’s wrong.
So, how to get started?
Keep in mind that the examination should not be carried out right before your menstruation cycle or after it. This is the period when your hormones are already acting up and a little bulge and swelling in the breasts is possible.
To conduct the self-examination, which you should on a regular basis, be extremely aware of the shape and size of your breasts and examine them with critical eyes.
Keep your shoulders straight and arms on your hips.
Stand in front of the mirror.
Now, what should you look for?
See if the breasts are of their usual size, color and shape. They should be evenly shaped without any visible unwanted swelling or distortion. If there is nothing out of the ordinary, that’s great. On the other hand, if there is any bulging, puckering and dimpling of the skin, you must see the doctor immediately.
Moreover, if your breasts are secreting thick water, there is redness, soreness, rash, swelling or inverted nipples. These all call for an immediate help from an expert. Consider making the breast examination a daily part of your routine.
What must you do if you feel there is a lump or a dubious water is coming out of your nipples?
First of all, do not panic as most women sometimes have lumps or lumpy areas, and they necessarily aren’t cancer and can be something extremely benign.
So, just consult your doctor to get the lump tested to find out if the change is worrisome or not. If it is, you need to start with the examination and the proper treatment cycle as soon as possible. Make sure you get yourself properly checked alongside all the tests, so you know you are on the safe side.
How To Prevent Breast Cancer:
There are a few ways through which all of us women can prevent breast cancer.
- You just need to lead a healthy and active lifestyle and take a proper diet.
- Beware that there is a strong linkage between smoking and breast cancer. So do not smoke and keep yourself as far away from it as possible.
- Be physically active and maintain a healthy weight.
- Obesity can increase the chances of breast cancer, thus at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic are highly recommended.
- Avoid exposure to environmental pollution and radiation as much as possible.
- Take such tests that require over-exposure to radiation, only when necessary, otherwise there is no need to risk yourself.
- Similarly, if you are taking any medicines or doses of hormone therapy. Limit them with the consultation of your doctor, because they are also a cause of breast cancer.
How To Recover From Breast Cancer?
It doesn’t matter if you contracted breast cancer, the good thing is that you got over it or are in a way to get over it. First things first, your doctor will tell you if the cancerous lump needs to be removed through a surgery or just the medication will be sufficient. If you had to undergo a surgery, do remember to follow all that your doctor told you for increased chances of recovery.
Once you have recovered from the surgery, now is the time to adopt some healthy changes and sustain them.
- To start with, you need to maintain a healthy weight.
- Calculate your BMI and if it falls under the normal category, you are safe otherwise take measures that suit your health at the moment.
- Eat good food, and make fruits and vegetables a part of your daily life.
- Limit high-calorie foods and beverages, and instead eat half a cup of fruits whenever you feel hungry.
- Stop eating a lot of red and processed meat, and instead eat chicken and fish.
- Lastly, as we have told you above, stop smoking and drinking alcohol and start running out in the open. We don’t see how you won’t be able to get on a road of recovery in a very short time.
You Can Be/ Are A Survivor!
We always have hopes that women are able to protect themselves against breast cancer. But, if you have, remember that it is just a disease and you have the power and capability to get over it. Just with a few lifestyle changes, treatment and willpower, you can overcome it. Just don’t lose hope and create awareness, so thousands of other women who fall prey to it every day can protect themselves.
The article has been contributd by Kainaat Maqbool.