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Nutrition and lifestyle strategies for breast cancer prevention

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jan 11, 2024 08:21 PM IST

In the battle against the rising menace of breast cancer, here are nutrition and lifestyle choices that can be instrumental in our breast cancer prevention

Breast cancer has emerged as a pressing concern, especially in urban areas, with lifestyle choices and nutritional status at the forefront of this growing challenge. Initially, the primary risk factors were age and gender but the landscape has evolved.

Nutrition and lifestyle strategies for breast cancer prevention (Photo by Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Meghal Sanghavi, Surgical Oncologist at Wockhardt Hospitals in Mumbai Central, shared, “Westernisation of lifestyle has become a significant contributor to the surge in breast cancer cases in countries like India. Risk factors once limited to age and gender have expanded to include alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, and elevated stress levels. Sedentary lifestyles and a shift toward processed, junk food have brought hormonal changes into the equation, with early menarche and late menopause also contributing to the rising breast cancer rates. However, these risk factors are not insurmountable.”

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The health expert suggested, “By embracing a disciplined lifestyle, prioritising physical activity, and reconnecting with our cultural roots, we can navigate the modernized world more mindfully. It's crucial to strike a balance, recognizing that there's a point at which we must cease the relentless pursuit of a modernized lifestyle and return to the fundamentals of well-being. Through conscious choices and a return to our cultural heritage, we can actively combat the prevalence of breast cancer, making prevention an achievable goal.”

Echoing that lifestyle choices play a pivotal role in the realm of breast cancer prevention, Preetam Jain, Medical Oncologist at Bhatia Hospital in Mumbai, said, “As we delve into the intriguing interplay between personal choices and health, it becomes evident that certain lifestyle decisions can significantly influence the risk of breast cancer. Late marriages, lack of children, and the absence of breastfeeding contribute to this risk. Furthermore, sedentary lifestyles and obesity, particularly after menopause, heighten the chances of developing breast cancer. Another facet of lifestyle choices involves the use of hormonal pills, containing estrogen therapy, which may hold a potential link to breast cancer. These decisions are highly individualized, and the risk must be carefully assessed.”

He concluded, “It's paramount to acknowledge the warning labels on such pills, emphasising the potential for a connection with breast cancer. When it comes to nutrition and lifestyle, a stressful, overworked routine, coupled with smoking, alcohol consumption, and insufficient physical activity, can escalate the risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise and a balanced diet devoid of junk foods and high-calorie, fatty diets are crucial. A mere 20 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week, can go a long way in reducing the risk of breast cancer. In the battle against this rising menace, it's evident that the choices we make in our daily lives can be instrumental in our pursuit of breast cancer prevention.”

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