A ccording to breastcancer.org, one in eight women “will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

Every woman wants to know what she can do to lower her risk of breast cancer. Some of the factors associated with breast cancer are:

  • being a woman
  • your age
  • your genetics
  • family and personal history
  • race and ethnicity
  • Oestrogen Exposure (Late age Pregnancies, Infertility, Age at first Menstrual cycle)

These risk factors for breast cancer cannot be changed. Other factors can be changed and these are the ones that women should focus on to create a more healthy way of life for themselves. They are:

  • being overweight
  • lack of exercise
  • smoking cigarettes
  • eating unhealthy food
  • use of birth control pills, hormone replacement

Kenya Cancer Statistics

Cancer is the 3rd highest cause of morbidity in Kenya [7% of deaths per year], after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. It is difficult to get accurate national data because most data is coming from Nairobi and other urbanized settings.

There are an estimated 39,000 new cases of Cancer each year in Kenya with more than 27,000 deaths per year. 60% of Kenyans affected by Cancer are younger than 70 years old according to the Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations.

Leading Cancers in Kenya
Women: Breast (34 per 100,000), Cervical (25 per 100,000)
Men: Prostate (17 per 100,000), Esophageal (9 per 100,000)

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of Breast; The Breast Lobules and the milk ducts. It not only affects the women but also the men however more cases are observed in women. Usually when carrying out the monthly breast cancer self- exam, the first sign is always the presence of a lump in the breast. In case you observe the lump promptly seek the doctors attention is the advice from Kenya Cancer Association.

The aging process is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer. As we age our bodies are less capable of repairing genetic damage. By keeping fit and healthy and limiting alcohol intake (and excluding cigarettes) women can drastically keep their risk as low as it can be.

A Good Diet is Important

Diet is thought to be partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers. It is true that no food or diet can prevent you from getting breast cancer, but some foods can make your body the healthiest it can be, boost your immune system, and help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible.

Research has shown that getting the nutrients you need from a variety of foods, especially fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, can make you feel your best and give your body the energy it needs.

High-fat diets can lead to being overweight or obese, which is a breast cancer risk factor. Overweight women are thought to be at higher risk for breast cancer because the extra fat cells make oestrogen, which can cause extra breast cell growth.

These are some of the risk factors for breast cancer and we can understand that we can do many things to reduce our risk as women.

But the most important element of all for breast cancer prevention, is for women to go for regular breast cancer screening at their local clinic or doctor.

 

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