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Experts advocate healthy weight, good diet, exercise as ways to prevent breast cancer

Medical experts have underscored the importance of maintaining healthy weight, good diet and regular exercise as proven ways to prevent breast cancer.

They stated this at The Female Professionals Book Club (TFP) Breast Cancer Awareness Forum in Ibadan on Friday.

Dr Gbemisola Daramola, a Public Health physician, who spoke on the importance of early detection and treatment, said that this guaranteed 93 per cent survival rate.

She said early detection through regular checks was the best way to prevent breast cancer, a leading cause of death globally and the second leading cause of death among females in Nigeria.

“Early detection includes doing monthly self-breast examination and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.

“It is recommended that women who are 40 years old and above should have mammography every one to two years,” Daramola said.

Also, Dr Chichi Obasi-Obonga, said that breast cancer was an uncontrolled growth of breast cells, which could be benign or malignant.

She said most breast lumps, ‘fibroadenomas’ are not serious and would not become cancerous.

Obasi-Obonga explained that benign lumps were not life threatening, adding that though some could increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

“Additionally, it is possible that a biopsy can identify precancerous cells or miss an area of tissue in which cancerous cells are more prevalent.

“In any of these cases, a lump that is initially believed to be benign can later be identified as malignant after it further grows and develops.

“Even so, it is important to have any breast mass promptly checked by a medical professional, who can determine whether it is benign or malignant, usually by performing an ultrasound or mammogram and a biopsy.

“In some cases, it may be unclear whether a lump is benign or malignant, leading to an uncertain diagnosis that requires ongoing follow-up,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dr Alero Adegbolagun, a Mental Health physician, has advised women on hormonal birth control not to panic as studies have shown that the chances of breast cancer was small.

She urged women to ensure that they maintain good mental and emotional health as these were paramount to their whole well-being including preventing and dealing with breast cancer.

“You may also want to skip hormone impregnated Intrauterine Device (IUCD) and any other hormonal birth control and use the plain copper instead if you have a strong family history of breast cancer.

“It’s one small step you can take to help protect yourself.

“There are more important steps you can take, these well-studied strategies have been shown time and again to reduce breast cancer risk, they are reaching and maintaining a healthy weight

“Others are getting regular exercises and limit or skip alcohol intake,” she said.

Adegbolagun further warned that people with family history of breast cancer should take regular checks more seriously from their early age.

Also, speaking at the forum, Dr Ibidun Alonge, an Orthopedic and Sport Recreational Physiotherapist, underscored the importance of aerobics, strength training and flexibility exercises for breast cancer prevention and treatment.

She said “don’t just rest, ensure you move. Vigorous exercise five to six times a week leads to 11 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who clock in less than an hour of worthy exercise weekly.

“Exercising for seven or more hours a week leads to a 26 per cent lower risk of developing the disease.”

Alonge recommended brisk walking and not strolling. “Exercise five or more hours a week,” she said.

In her remarks, Mrs Ezinne Ibe, the Founder of TFP Book Club, said the group decided to sensitise women so as to reduce the burden of breast cancer in Nigeria.

She stated that if women groups support women in Nigeria, prevention of cancers could be possible to a large extent.

The Female Professional Book Club is a platform for female professionals from diverse backgrounds who love to read and discuss books across borders, exhibit God’s kind of wisdom, exceed expectations and mentor others.

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