It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here's everything you need to know
We've entered the month of October, which means we are reaching almost the end of the year. But October is not only famous for its heat, it’s also famous because we celebrate it as ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’. All these years, we have learnt that early signs of breast cancer can be any of these — a lump in a breast, tenderness in the breasts or a painful breast or armpit. But all these symptoms don’t really mean you will suffer from cancer; these symptoms also surface when we get into hormonal imbalance (particularly before or after a period), or when we’re deficient in vitamins and minerals (low vitamin E), which can cause pain in one’s breasts, etc. Many a time, pain or a lump in the breast can be perfectly harmless, or the pain can be a sign of a cyst, or the lump can be benign too. So, before jumping to any conclusions, it’s always better to get checked on different blood parameters.
Usually, breast cancer either starts developing in the cells of the milk-producing glands or in the ducts (the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple). Less commonly, breast cancer can develop in the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast.
That brings us to our lymphatic system, whose job is to drain out cellular waste from your body. Over time, if the cancer cells go undetected, they can invade nearby healthy breast tissues and make their way into the underarm lymph nodes (depending on the stage and severity). If cancer cells get into the lymph nodes, they then have access to an easy pathway, which enters other parts of the body. The toxins build up in the lymphatic system, which affect the energy balance of our cells, which in turn create an environment in our body wherein mutation and uncontrollable division of cancer cells starts taking place, and this is how the cancer cells start spreading.
It sounds scary, but it isn’t really, as there are various steps that every person can follow to help the body stay as healthy as possible. As usual, these steps are: eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, limiting or avoiding alcohol, staying mentally and emotionally strong, exercising regularly or at least, staying active. These are few pointers for now, but in the coming weeks, we will discuss cancer in detail, to create more awareness around the disease.
(The writer is a clinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices.)