MAMMOGRAM
Mammograms used to screen women for breast cancer can also indicate the patient's risk for cardiovascular diseases. REUTERS

The month of October is set aside to ramp up awareness of Breast Cancer and aims to increase knowledge of how we can help beat one of the most common cancers in women. At present, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer among women in both the developed and developing world, replacing cervical cancer. But, it has been seen that most of them are not aware of how to control or prevent the disease. IBTimes Singapore has compiled a list of 5 ways that can help you to cut your risks.

Eat more fruits

A large-scale US study has revealed that high consumption of fruits during adolescence - 2.9 servings per day was associated with around a 25% lower risk of breast cancer in middle age women, while, a low consumption of fruit results into 0.5 servings per day. According to the study, two servings per week of apples, bananas and grapes during adolescence have been significantly associated with a reduced breast cancer risk. During adulthood, two servings per week of oranges and kale have been associated with the disease.

A few doctors also suggest women to consume berries, including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in good amount as all these are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Physical activity

The study that was conducted on nearly 1.4 million participants found that a higher level of physical activity could lower the risk of 13 different types of cancers, including reducing the risk of breast cancer by 10%.

A team of Canadian researchers discovered that doubling the amount of weekly physical activity from 150 to 300 minutes could lower the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women by significantly reducing body fat, especially in obese women.

Cut down on saturated fat

Experts say that consuming large amounts of saturated "bad" fat or low amounts of mono- and polyunsaturated "good" fats during adolescence can result into higher breast density in young adulthood leading to a strong risk factor for breast cancer.

Items such as meat and dairy products, including fatty meats, cheese and butter, generally have saturated 'bad' fats. However, products like nuts, olive oil and avocado are common sources of monounsaturated "good" fats.

Regular dental checks

A US study, conducted on more than 65,000 female participants aged 54 to 86 for an average of eight years, has revealed that women who have a history of gum disease posses a 14% higher risk of developing cancer and a "significantly higher risk" of breast cancer.

However, this is not the first study that has associated gum problems with breast cancer. Earlier, there have been several reports that showed people with gum disease face a higher risk of certain cancers. The theory behind this states that several harmful pathogens could be carried in saliva and dental plaque, or through diseased gum tissues into the blood circulation leading to the cause of the disease.

Consume more fibrous food

A large-scale American research looking at 90,534 women discovered that high consumption of fiber, especially from fruits and vegetables, during adolescence can help in reducing the risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer. Apart from fruits and vegetables, foods like kidney beans, lentils, and wholegrain cereals also contain high levels of fiber.

According to the research, young women, who ate more fiber in early adulthood, had a 12 to 19% lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who ate much less or no dietary fiber. The researchers also claim that teenagers who consumed high fiber have 16% less chances of breast cancer and they also cut the risk of premenopausal breast cancer by 24%.