Ever since the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants during its New York City race for breast cancer survivors in 1991, the pink ribbon has come to be accepted as a symbol of support for breast cancer awareness. As this breast cancer awareness month of October comes to an end, and as many join the awareness campaign by wearing the pink ribbon, it would help a great deal if people are encouraged to take the exercise of personal breast examination seriously, and to take further steps that would guarantee easy access to routine breast screenings.
Have you ever wondered why a whole month is dedicated to the cause of creating awareness for breast cancer? It’s simple – breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and is the second leading cause of cancer death among the female folk. While breasts are an essential and amazing part of the human body, breast cancer is their deadliest enemy. As such, your breasts should be protected and taken care of. Aside from routine personal examination, a solid health insurance cover will go a long way to ensure that, in the event of breast cancer detection, you won’t have to worry about the cost of adequate healthcare.It is disturbing that majority of Nigerians mostly ignore changes they notice around their breasts. Indeed, it is this tendency that is responsible for the preponderance of late diagnosis, a major setback in the fight against breast cancer in Nigeria. For reasons bordering on limited resources and negligence, most Nigerians show up at the hospital when the cancer is already widespread and medical attention cannot adequately salvage the situation. However, with a health plan that facilitates routine breast screenings, early
It is disturbing that majority of Nigerians mostly ignore changes they notice around their breasts. Indeed, it is this tendency that is responsible for the preponderance of late diagnosis, a major setback in the fight against breast cancer in Nigeria. For reasons bordering on limited resources and negligence, most Nigerians show up at the hospital when the cancer is already widespread and medical attention cannot adequately salvage the situation. However, with a health plan that facilitates routine breast screenings, early detection and effective treatment would be possible.
What is breast cancer? Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control, eventually forming a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. There are a number of things that are perceived to increase the risk of breast cancer. But, having one or more of the risk factors does not mean that an individual will definitely get breast cancer, as more research is still needed to prove the authenticity of these risk factors. What it means, however, is that the person should be aware, and should take sufficient care.
What are the perceived risk factors? The perceived risk factors include having uneven breasts, injury to the breast, under wired bras, antibiotics use, pesticides, abortion and stress. Nevertheless, as pointed out here, all these risk factors have not been fully proven to cause breast cancer. For instance, for most women, it is normal to have slightly uneven or asymmetrical breasts. Then, generally, doctors don’t believe that an injury to the breast can lead to cancer. There is also no scientific evidence to prove that under wired bras cause breast cancer since constriction or applying pressure to an area of the body does not make normal cells become cancerous. On the part of antibiotic use, studies looking at whether antibiotic use could increase the risk of breast cancer have shown conflicting results.
It is interesting to note that, though most studies found that pesticides don’t increase cancer risk, an American report in 2008 confirmed that exposure to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, DDT early in life may increase breast cancer risk. The good news, however, is that DDT is no longer used today. Again, though researchers thought abortion might increase the risk of cancer because of the effect of pregnancy on breast cells, it doesn’t seem this is so; and, although stress can occasion physical health problems, no definite link has been found between stress and breast cancer.
Breast Cancer in Men: Though the men do not develop milk-producing breasts, a man’s breast cells and tissue can still develop cancer. However, cases of male breast cancer are very rare. In fact, available data show that less than one percent of all breast cancer cases occur in men, and only one in a thousand men will ever be diagnosed with breast cancer.
What does it mean to be breast aware? This simply means that you should know how your breasts normally look and feel at different times of the month. If you notice a change in size, feel or shape that isn’t normal for you, seek medical attention. This you can achieve by routinely examining your breasts. However, for the women, you don’t need to do this every day or even every week, as long as you know how your breasts normally feel, and how that changes with your periods.
What can you do to reduce the risk of breast cancer? Though many of the risk factors are perceived and have not really been proven, you can at least play your part. Studies suggest that maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and limiting your alcohol intake could help. There is also the school of thought that posits that getting your breasts regularly massaged may help prevent cancer by stimulating normal cell growth and reproduction.
Finally, do not forget that early detection through regular screening would heighten the probability of successful treatment. To be on the safe side, a good health plan that can facilitate routine age-appropriate and specific breast screening should be an integral part of your health care.
This is where Leadway Assurance stands, urging you to join her in creating more awareness about Breast Cancer, by adding the pink ribbon to your profile picture on facebook and twitter. To join the movement, please click here.