Article By: James Dakey
Periodic education is vital to preventing Breast Cancer disease from spreading. Viva Health magazine over the period has been producing relevant information that educates future health professionals on topical issues that will help Health Professionals make informed decisions when it comes to cancer screening and prevention. Breast cancer Awareness Month is celebrated in October each year to raise awareness about the disease and its risk factors.
Understanding the awareness and predictors of breast examination is an important first step that may guide the design of interventions aimed at raising awareness across the general population. Screening for breast cancer begins with a health professional doing an annual physical examination, which should include a review of the woman’s personal history and risk factors for the disease. If a woman has any indications that she may have breast cancer, she should immediately seek medical attention.
Some of the most common risk factors for breast cancer include:
-Having a family history of breast cancer
-Being overweight or obese
-Having high blood pressure
-Having a history of early onset menstrual periods
-Being age 50 or older
-Having had radiation therapy to the chest in the past
However, not all women who have these risk factors will develop breast cancer.
How to prevent Breast Cancer
There is no one answer to preventing breast cancer, as different women will have different risk factors and lifestyles that affect their likelihood of developing the disease. The following are some key dietary recommendations for reducing your risk of developing breast cancer: However, some lifestyle changes that may help reduce your risk of breast cancer include:
-Eating a balanced and healthy diet
- Limit your intake of red meat, processed meats, and high-fat foods. These foods are high in saturated fat, which can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Instead, try eating leaner cuts of meat or fish, poultry without skin, legumes such as beans and peas, or low-fat dairy products.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods contain antioxidants that can help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Additionally, they are low in calories and have no sugar added, which can help control blood sugar levels.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products. Smoking cigarettes has been linked with an increased risk of developing breast cancer; moreover, smoking increases the amount of estrogen that is absorbed into the body through the lungs. Tobacco use also
A healthy lifestyle like regular exercise is good to reduce the adverse effect of Breast cancer risk factors which include being overweight or obese, having a family history of breast cancer, and getting early-stage breast cancer. Screening for breast cancer includes a physical exam, mammogram, and/or ultrasound. If you are at high risk for breast cancer, you may want to talk to your doctor about whether you should get screened.
-Avoiding sun exposure
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in Ghana, with over thousands of new cases diagnosed each year. Sun exposure is one of the major risk factors for developing breast cancer, and it’s important for future health professionals in Ghana to understand the risks associated with sun exposure and how to protect themselves from this disease.
The Ghana Health Services recommends that women avoid direct sunlight exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the UV radiation from the sun is strongest. The GHS also recommends that women use sunscreen every day, regardless of their skin color, and wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible when outdoors. Future health professionals in Ghana should also be aware of other risk factors for breast cancer, such as obesity and early onset puberty, and make sure to get screened for this disease if they are at high risk.
-Limiting alcohol consumption
Breast cancer awareness is important for future health professionals in Ghana to remember, as alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for the disease. A study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment found that women who drank more than one drink per day were almost three times as likely to develop breast cancer compared to women who did not drink at all. In addition, other research has shown that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of other types of cancer, such as ovarian cancer.
It is therefore important for future health professionals to be aware of the risks associated with alcohol consumption and make sure that their patients are too. While it may be difficult for some people to abstain from drinking altogether, limiting intake to only moderate amounts is a good way to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
-Reducing stress levels
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the world, and it is also one of the most feared diseases. In Ghana, breast cancer awareness is not as high as it could be, with only a fraction of women aware of the risk factors and screening practices that they can take to reduce their risk of developing this deadly disease.
Stress levels are known to increase the risk of developing many diseases, including breast cancer. It is important for future health professionals in Ghana to take steps to reduce their stress levels if they want to avoid developing this deadly disease. One way to do this is by engaging in activities that make them happy and relaxing, such as gardening or spending time with friends and family.
Screening for breast cancer should begin at the annual physical examination. If you have any signs or symptoms that suggest you may have breast cancer, please speak with your doctor.
Research by Osei-Afriyie has shown unsatisfactory levels of awareness and understanding of breast cancer risk factors and disease presentation. The study though has demonstrated considerable awareness about the existence of breast cancer, insufficient knowledge, and misconceptions regarding its risk factors and causes and disease presentation also existed among participants. Less than three-quarters of our study participants had heard about breast cancer. This is unexpectedly far lower than the 100% observed in medical students in Harar, Ethiopia, 98.7% among University of Ibadan female students, 95% previously reported among female students of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences in Ghana, and 88.1% among Teacher Training college students in Cameroon. The difference in the awareness rate found in this study and that of the aforementioned studies cannot directly be explained.
There are many risk factors for breast cancer, but no one factor is completely responsible for developing the disease. Most cases of breast cancer can be prevented by avoiding known risk factors. Awareness and understanding of breast cancer risk factors among future health professionals in Ghana will help to prevent this deadly disease from taking hold in our community members.
Addae AK, Oppong S, Amu H, Ampofo E, et al. (2021) of University of Health and Allied Science UHAD Ho, Breast cancer awareness, risk factors and screening practices among future health professionals in Ghana.