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Risk Management of Breast Cancer

What is Risk Management of Breast Cancer?

Risk management of breast cancer is defined as a process of identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risk factors associated with breast cancer in order to minimise or prevent the ill-effects of breast cancer.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is defined as a cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. It occurs from an abnormal division and multiplication of breast cells in an uncontrolled manner. Breast cancer can develop in both women and men, but it is much more common in women. Mostly, the cancer develops either in the ducts or lobules of the breasts, but can also develop in the fibrous connective tissue or fatty tissue within the breast.

What are the Risk Factors Associated with Breast Cancer?

Some of the risk factors associated with breast cancer include:

  • Genes: Women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations are more likely to suffer from breast cancer than women without BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.
  • Age: Age is an important factor in developing breast cancer. As you age, the risk of developing breast cancer increases.
  • Gender: Female sex in itself is a big risk factor for breast cancer as over 99% of breast cancers occur in females.
  • Alcohol and Tobacco: Women with the habit of excess alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking are more prone to breast cancer.
  • Early Menstruation and Late Menopause: Women who attain menstruation before age 12 and menopause after age 55 are more prone to breast cancer.
  • Family History or Personal History: If you had breast cancer previously or anyone in your family suffered from breast cancer, you are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Lack of Exercise and Being Overweight: Being obese is another important risk factor in developing breast cancer. Being physically inactive may lead to breast cancer in women.
  • Pregnancy: Women who were never pregnant or became pregnant after the age of 35 are at higher risk of breast cancer.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy: Women taking hormones such as estrogen or progesterone are prone to breast cancer.
  • Dense Breast Tissue: This type of tissue can make it more difficult to diagnose early breast cancer.

What Measures are Involved in the Prevention and Management of Breast Cancer Risks?

The following measures along with taking necessary preventive measures recommended by your doctor may help to reduce your chances of breast cancer. These include:

  • Regular breast cancer screening: A periodic check-up with mammograms can help in decreasing the odds of breast cancer going undetected thereby enabling doctors to treat breast cancer effectively in the initial stages itself.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active: Women who are overweight are more prone to developing breast cancer. Following a healthy diet and regular exercise can help you lose weight and decrease your chances of developing breast cancer.
  • Refraining from alcohol: Studies have indicated that consuming alcohol is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The higher the intake of alcoholic drinks you take regularly, the higher the chance of breast cancer occurrence.
  • Self-breast examination: Periodic breast examination at least once a month helps you become familiar with the normal feel and appearance of your breasts. This enables you to detect any abnormalities in the appearance or look of the breasts so treatment can begin at an early stage.
  • Breast cancer education: It is important to educate yourself about Breast cancer. This helps in knowing the signs and symptoms pertaining to breast cancer, the risks involved with it and how well the risk can be reduced or managed, and what type of screening is required.
  • Having children and breastfeeding is connected to reduced chances of breast cancer in women. The risk factor has been noted to decrease by almost 7% with each child and the longer the time span of breastfeeding, the lower the chance of breast cancer.
  • An appointment with a genetic counsellor to understand your family history of breast cancer.
  • Refraining from the use of artificial hormone medications.
  • Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables regularly.