On Thursday, Oct. 16, The Women’s Center held its annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day to educate women on ways to help reduce the risks of breast cancer. The meeting was held in the Allied Health Building between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Mary Chalich, a nutritionist with a MD in health education, spoke about ways to promote and prevent breast cancer through diet and exercise. “It’s 2008 and we still aren’t black or white on breast cancer. It’s still one big grey area,” Chalich said. However, there are many risk factors we can control just by adjusting the aspects of our everyday life.
Weight gain in women experiencing menopause is said to be a contributing factor in developing breast cancer. A Nurse’s Health study noted a 50 percent increase in post menopausal women who had gained 44 pounds of weight or more. Women who are physically active and keep the consistency are said to have a 20 to 30 percent decrease of developing breast tumors.
Changing up the diet by adding foods with nutritional value help decrease as well. Phytochemicals found in broccoli have the ability to stop tumor growth and prevent aging. Blueberries and pomegranates also provide the anti-inflammatory chemical.
Foods containing anti-oxidants, vitamins A, C, D, and E, and beta-carotene contribute to the reduction of breast cancer. Also consider retaining protein from a plant-based diet instead of animal meats. The new American Plate rationed only ¼ to 1/3 meat, filling the rest with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Adding soy to the diets of women already diagnosed helps decrease the death rate from birth control.
Free radicals cause damage to the cells’ membrane and DNA, making cancer more opportunistic. Exposure to cigarette smoke, second-hand smoke, too much sun, eating grilled foods and smoked cured meats increase the risk of developing tumors.
Low fat diets reduce the risk by nine percent. “I don’t wants to sound like a ‘Debbie Downer’ when it comes to diet,” Chalich preached, “but now we can change our diets for the better.”
October is widely known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It began nearly 20 years ago to increase awareness and stress the importance of early detection.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and is found nearly 100 times more in women than men. It is the second leading cause of cancer related death in the United States. About 2 million living American women have been treated for the disease. The National Cancer Institute estimated 170,000 new cases in women and roughly 2,000 new cases in men.
Breast cancer can be detected through a series of procedures. Mammogram screenings should be performed through every year for women 40 and older. Clinical breast exams for women between age 20 and 30 should be performed everything three years and every year for women over 40. Self detection is also a resourceful way to detect early signs of breast cancer. Women should report changes of the look and feel of their breast to a health care professional immediately.
Treatment for the disease includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormonal and biological testing. The earlier the cancer is detected, the better affect the treatment will have.
The Women’s Center also provided a luncheon and pink ribbons for participants that attended Breast Cancer Awareness Day.