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Nigeria

Keeping your breasts healthy

It is pertinent to know that a healthy lifestyle can help protect your breasts as a woman. These, however, are the changes and early-detection methods experts say are key:

Maintain a healthy weight: Being heavy can increase your risk of developing the disease as well as reduce your risk of surviving it, says Harold Freeman, M.D, president and founder of the Ralph Lauren Centre for Cancer and Prevention in New York.

A woman can help herself by working out for about 45 minutes to an hour five days a week. Regular fitness workouts may help prevent the disease by boosting immune function, warding off obesity, and lowering levels of estrogen and insulin.

Also Read: Breast cancer

Drink less alcohol: Research has shown that two drinks a day could increase breast cancer risk by 21 percent. Instead, try swapping wine for fresh grapes. Resveratrol, found in the skin of grapes, may help reduce your estrogen levels, which in turn may reduce your risk.

Eat lots of vegetables: A low-fat diet can do a lot to reduce your risk, but for even more protection, add some cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, to your plate. They contain sulforaphane, which is believed to help prevent cancer cells from multiplying. For an extra dose of cancer-fighting power, eat them raw.

Know your family history: In about 15 percent of breast cancer cases, there is a family history of the disease,” Freeman says. If you have one first-degree relative who had breast cancer, your lifetime risk doubles, and if you have two, your risk increases five-fold.

All women should have a clinical breast examination at least every three years and annual examinations and mammograms starting at age 40. Women with a family history should begin screening 10 years prior to the family member’s age of diagnosis.