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Breast cancer awareness.


Few years ago, my friend though not so close at that time, shared with me a burden. Her mum had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone chemotherapies to help. Unfortunately things didn’t get better. On this very day, she got a phone call from her aunty who asked to speak to her friend rather than her. That was when she knew that whatever news was coming wasn’t good. Later that day she was told that her dearly beloved mum had passed. What a shock! Someone irreplaceble. Tears alone couldn’t bring her back. If only money could take the cancer away but the question still remains why cancer? Why her? Someone loved by everyone. The role model she had, had been stolen by the deadly breast cancer at a very young age. That was the moment we connected and created a bond that still holds our friendship till date.

So what is breast cancer really? Why does it affect people? According to the American Cancer Society, Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is malignant(cancer) if the cells can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body.


 The numerous amount of young women that have lost their lives to breast cancer is difficult to comprehend with. This may come as a shocking news but men too have breast cancer. The last recorded was a man in his 60's diagnosed with the deadly diseases and eventually passed on following series of treatment.
The truth is, the disease has no cure and prevention they say is always better than cure.

Here are few things experts want you to know.

1. Be aware: Being aware that breast cancer exists and kills rapidly is the first step to its prevention. Most people still remain ignorant of this and havent had the opportunity to come to terms with the fact that breast cancer does exist.

2. Self-examination: This is very paramount. It would be a waste of time to go to the clinic every time to have your breast examined because this is something you can do by yourself daily or weekly as you wish. It’s simple, easy and there is no cost involved.

3. Be active: Few minutes of daily physical activity can reduce your risk of breast cancer. This helps you burn calories and reduces your chances of being overweight. As we know being overweight predisposes you to cancer as harsh as that may sound. You can start by taking walks rather than driving short distances that you can actually walk for or if your job involves sitting for long hours, try to take breaks to move around or do some exercising in the mornings, after work or on your free days.

4. Eat healthy: This cannot be overemphasised. Thankful enough the world is evolving and high calorie foods are now being replaced with low calorie options. Minimise the intake of chemically processed food, hom
e cooked meals still remain the best and safest option. Time may be a factor but this is where planning comes to play. Lots of people now meal prep over the weekend, you can join the band wagon and begin meal preps. Don’t forget to include vegetables in your meals. Go for freshly made juices rather than fizzy drinks or alcohol.

5. Breastfeeding: According to Sir Richard Doll a well known epidemiologist,  a woman's risk of developing breast cancer which currently stands as 1 in 12 reduces by about 4% for every year she breastfeeds and even better when she breastfeeds for a long period of time. I think it would be good to know that breastfeeding is not just beneficial to the baby but to the mother especially when it comes to reducing the risks of developing a deadly disease such as breast cancer.

6. Others: Other things like green tea have been known to help reduce the risks by detoxification and metabolism of excess oestrogen, some say that is why women in Asia are less prone to breast cancer because of their high consumption of green tea(Information from the Womens own magazine). Also exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals can lead to changes in the breast and increase the chances of breast cancer. So try to avoid strong chemicals from house hold cleaning chemicals to cosmetics and more. Always check your products before purchase.

7. Spread the news. We may be very aware of this, but let’s not forget our mothers, aunties, relative’s, friends and colleagues who may be unaware. Share what you learn from this awareness with them and this is how more people get involved to fight this deadly disease. Some may have reached the age of routine checks as some countries would have it others may not but most importantly the more people who know, the less people will be affected


How Should A Breast Self-Exam Be Performed? Extract from the National breast cancer foundation.
1) In the Shower 
Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.
2) In Front of a Mirror 
Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead.
Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women's breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
3) Lying Down
When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit.
Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
If you become suspicious or notice changes, see your doctor immediately. 

Cheers 
Mute.

About Mute Akpomedaye

Mute Akpomedaye
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