In Singapore, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women of all ethnicities and races. But despite its commonness, many are still unaware of this cancer’s risk factors —with lifestyle choices as the most significant factor of all. Here are the 10 essential facts about breast cancer that every women—and even men—should know.
1. It’s up to you to know your risk.
One of the simplest things that young women can do to is to know their family history. Having a first-degree relative, like a mother or a sister, get cancer at a young age heightens your risk.
Since a detailed medical history is not a dinner-table kind of conversation, it is up to you to ask your family and talk to your family doctor or to an oncologist about your possibility of developing breast cancer. If many of your family members died of or diagnosed with cancer, see a specialist for a blood test to check for BRCA, commonly known as the ‘cancer gene,’ that runs in the family.
2. Your ethnicity can contribute to your risk.
Although it is the most common type of cancer among women in Singapore, it is not as widespread as in American women. Black women, in particular, are three times more likely to develop ‘triple negative tumour’ compared to women of other ethnicity and racial backgrounds. According to oncology experts, a triple negative tumour is among the deadliest types of breast cancer due to its resistance to most cancer treatments.
3. Healthy diet and regular exercise matters—a lot!
In a study, even mild physical activities after menopause reduce chances of developing breast cancer. Women who exercise 10 to 15 hours a week while having a good cancer doctor from singapore reap the greatest health benefits of 30 percent risk reduction.
The intensity level of the exercise doesn’t matter—a 30-minute brisk walk is just as beneficial as a high-intensity interval training in terms of reducing your cancer risk. Just be sure to keep track of your weight as excessive weight gain can eradicate the benefits of exercise.
4. The wrong contraceptive method can double your cancer risk.
Certain types of birth control can raise your risk for cancer. One of which are the progesterone-only contraceptives, which doubles your risk when used for more than year. The good news, though, is that when you stop, the increased risks dissipate in a couple of months.
The risk may also extend to oral birth control. While there’s no clear reason for this yet, experts say that those with family history of breast cancer should use be careful before using this contraceptive method. If worried about your risk, talk to an oncologist to evaluate your risk before taking birth control pills.
5. The right doctor will give you peace of mind.
If you find any lump or signs of irregularity, searching for the right oncology expert with ample experience in treating the disease is the key to preventing and managing cancer. A board-certified oncologist, especially one who has had extra training for treating breast cancer, surely has the expertise in performing relevant tests that contribute to more accurate diagnosis and treatment plans.
To find the right doctor, start looking at the nearest cancer center or teaching hospital, as these establishments usually have the best technologies and always have records of the latest researches.
6. There is no need to rush.
Contrary to popular belief, breast cancer is usually not an emergency. A less experienced specialist may rush into executing a treatment, but it’s really about finding the right method that works for your case. And while it is important to make healthy decisions when you’re already diagnosed, it’s also vital to be gentle with yourself.
If you find out you have higher risk, it is not yet the end of the world. With the advent of modern medical technologies, treatment methods have improved in the last decades. Surgical and medicinal options like chemotherapy can help in significantly reducing your risk. When a cancer develops, it is no longer important how you got it. What matters most is that you are aware of it and make a plan on how to treat and stop its development.
7. You can use an app to track your risk.
As mentioned, modern technology has helped a lot in preventing further development of diseases, including cancer. Keeping track of the latest researches, your family’s medical history and some lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, diet and weight makes it possible to determine your risk on your own. Although it’s still highly recommended to go to a cancer center for accurate risk examination, the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment app helps with initial evaluation.
Moreover there are websites where women who are and once diagnosed with breast cancer can communicate, exchange ideas, share experiences, ask questions and share photos. This is a great place where women can give each other support and provide suggestions of the best cancer centers in Singapore.
Breast cancer has always been a tough battle for all women in the world. Make this a tad easier for you by knowing the right facts about the disease. Although these are just a few of the many essential facts of breast cancer, a little knowledge goes a long way in helping you understand your risk. Now that you know more about the disease, we hope you’ll seek professional advice and develop an action plan to reduce the risk or detect this illness at its earliest, non-life-threatening stage.