Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed during the month of October, every year worldwide. The main aim of this annual event is to increase the awareness and educate people about the need for prompt diagnosis, treatment and provide palliative care for this life-threatening condition.
Breast cancer cases are on a rise each year. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), there are about 1.38 million newly diagnosed cases and 458000 mortality from breast cancer each year worldwide. Breast cancer is by far the most prevalent form of cancer in women. The incidence of this has been steadily rising among low and middle-income groups in recent years due to urbanization and adapting western lifestyles.
As per statistics reports, one in twenty-eight women in India is prone to developing breast cancer during her lifetime and the risk is more among urban women than the rural group.
Breast cancer develops when the breast cells grow out of control, it may start in different parts of the breast, and however, most cases begin either in the ducts or lobules and can also mutate into other parts of the body. The most common symptoms of breast cancer is an appearance of a mass or lump in the breast tissue.
Lack of adequate information about the signs and symptoms makes this condition life-threatening. Hence a number of campaign and activities take place during this month all over the globe to educate people about the condition, symptoms and need for timely detection and treatment.
Early detection of the disease remains a cornerstone of breast cancer management. Breast cancer if addressed early with prompt diagnosis and treatment can cure this condition, to a greater extent.
It is also vital for women to adopt a disciplined lifestyle and take necessary care of their breast health. Read through this article to get an insight into the nutritional management of this condition.
Nutritional Needs During Breast Cancer
Eating a well-balanced diet is vital when you have breast cancer. Adequate nutrition supports the body to heal and recover from treatment. Choosing the right kind of food will ensure that you maintain a healthy weight and also preserve muscle stamina. Good nutrition maintains your body healthy and helps you feel better. Some of the perks of eating a healthy diet include:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Sustain healthy tissue
- Minimise the symptoms and side effects of treatment
- Helps to strengthen the immune system
- Maintain energy, stamina and reduce fatigue
- Enhance the quality of life
Foods To Include
Here’s a guide on the food choices to be included and avoided for people with breast cancer which helps to improve their quality of life.
Fruits And Vegetables
Choose from a myriad of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables which are bestowed with plant nutrients called phytochemicals. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower cabbage, kale and Brussel sprouts are good options to add on a regular basis as they exhibit antiestrogen properties. These foods help to heal from breast cancer, lower its recurrence and reduce the cancer cell formation. Berries, apples, garlic, tomatoes and carrots are also valuable as they are a powerhouse of antioxidants that combat free radical damage of cells. It is must to have at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
Whole grain cereals like brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa and wheat are a good source of complex carbs and dietary fibre. A high fibre diet may help the patient with breast cancer to avoid constipation caused due to certain cancer drugs. Add at least 25-30 grams of fibre daily.
Legumes And Lentils
Beans are high on protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals and low in fat. Provide you with needed protein for cell repair and regeneration and also regain muscle strength. Include at least 25 grams of legumes on a daily basis.
Go for healthy choices of protein that will keep your body strong and build a robust immune system. Add lean meat and fatty fish like tuna and salmon. Other sources of non-animal protein include tofu and nuts.
Foods To Avoid
Some of the foods you should consider limiting or avoiding includes:
High-Fat Meats And Dairy Products
These foods are a rich source of unhealthy saturated fatty acids. It is best to restrict fatty red meat, organ meats, whole milk, butter and cream.
It is advised to completely avoid consuming alcohol, as drinking alcohol is one of the risk factors for developing breast cancer.
Cookies, cake, candy .soda and other sugar-laden foods increase the weight and slow down the metabolism. Hence it is ideal to refrain eating these foods.
During the course of cancer treatments, your white blood cell count drops drastically. This makes you vulnerable to infections as a result of insufficient immune-fighting cells. Avoid raw foods like sushi and oysters. Thoroughly cook all meats, fish and poultry to the right temperature before eating.