The approach of the breast from a cancer perspective has a positive side because the campaigns for early detection have multiplied, but on the other hand it has filled the fear of healthy women, leading them to abuse the diagnostic tests and to oversize the risk of suffering breast cancer.
It is time to return to the right measure.
Breast cancer is a problem that must generate a general commitment to prevent it, detect it and manage it in time; However, its incidence is not as dramatic as most people believe, says Fernando Herazo Maya, breast surgeon and soft tissue tumors. “We live a new phenomenon with people stressed out of fear of breast cancer. The alarming data from NCI that “one in eight women throughout their lives will get breast cancer” is a theoretical approach that has been embraced by magazines, programs, cancer survivors And many companies, which only brings unnecessary anxiety and confusion. This assertion makes us ask what kind of risk they are referring to,
In Colombia, it is estimated that 40 cases of breast cancer per 100,000 women are present in the population. A much lower ratio than the one mentioned above.
A completely healthy woman has unmodifiable risk factors that are; they cannot be changed, such as a family history in the first degree of consanguinity with breast cancer, the age of more than 50 years and the alteration of genes that predispose to cancer; Which may result in additional risk of the disease. A great fear lies in the confusion between family predisposition and heredity; not all diseases that occur in a family are inherited.
Other risks of breast cancer are modifiable and are associated with sedentary lifestyles, obesity and smoking. In this way, it can be understood that there are so many factors that affect the probability of having breast cancer, that it is not easy to determine which one is responsible for their appearance. It is the conjunction of many factors such as unhealthy lifestyles, added to environmental conditions and sometimes to the presence of genetic alterations, which can cause the disease to appear.
Breast cancer is a risk that one must learn to coexist without stress, which is reduced by leading a life of healthy habits and generating a culture of self-care and early detection of the disease.
Exercise and breast cancer
Numerous studies have been published in recent years showing that women who are physically active are at lower risk of breast cancer than women who are sedentary. This association has been observed for the majority of racial and ethnic minority groups.
The evidence for the association between high levels of physical activity and low risk of breast cancer has been classified as “convincing,” with an estimated degree of protection between 30% and 40% with three to four hours per week of intensity physical activity Moderate or vigorous. Some studies report up to 70% reduction in risk, but the results are not definitive.
Also important is the report by the international cancer research agency, IARC, which estimates that 25% of all cancer cases in the world are caused by overweight, obesity And sedentary lifestyles.
The potential of exercise for measurable health benefits was indicated in improved quality of life, cardiopulmonary function, overall health, and strength, quality of sleep, self- esteem, decreased weight gain, depression, anxiety and reduction of tiredness. It also emphasizes the importance for health care professionals to involve the care of breast cancer patients with the benefits of physical activity for better health and well-being.
Fernando Herazo Maya from his extensive experience as a breast surgeon, says that although it has not been categorically proven that exercise reduces the chances of breast cancer, “it is very clear that having an active life fundamentally reduces other types of Diseases caused by sedentary lifestyle and obesity, including the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in adult women. And while exercise contributes to reducing the risk of breast cancer, then, much better. “
To conclude, this specialist invites women to consider: “If you are a healthy woman and do not have major risk factors, will you be able to undergo treatment with tamoxifen (medicine used in breast cancer patients) during Five years to reduce the risk of suffering from the disease, knowing what it means to follow this therapy in healthy women, will you remove the breasts preventively (prophylactic mastectomy)? Or, better, will you get involved in an early cancer screening scheme to try to determine the disease if it occurs?
“The most important thing to keep in mind is that preventing breast cancer is complex because it has not been fully effective in doing so and because the incidence of breast cancer does not yet imply a public health problem in our country. It is preferable to live a healthy lifestyle, to have breast self-examination every month, with breast imaging and clinical evaluation according to medical recommendations; do not stress unnecessarily with the subject and rely on the personal physician, gynecologist and astrologist when in doubt. These are the best options for a woman, “concludes Herazo Maya. |
Source: Fernando Herazo Maya, breast surgeon and soft tissue tumors, general surgeon and MSc candidate in clinical epidemiology.
Some important terms
Early Detection: Practices like these are part of a responsible attitude on the part of women and general tranquility:
Breast self-examination: Recommended for all women over 20 years. Each month, eight days after the first day of the menstrual cycle. To know how to do it, click here
Mammography: Women between the ages of 40 and 50 should have it every two years if there are risk factors. After 50, every year.
Clinical breast exam: All women over the age of 20, every year. It can be done by the family doctor, gynecologist or breast surgeon.