The incidences of breast cancer in India are on the rise and is rapidly becoming the number one cancer in females pushing the cervical cancer to the second spot. The seriousness of the situation is apparent after going through recent data from Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR).
It is reported that one in 22 women in India is likely to suffer from breast cancer during her lifetime, while the figure is definitely more in America with one in eight being a victim of this deadly cancer.
I had been reading about the role positive thinking plays in cutting down the risk of any dis-ease especially cancer. There have been instances where the cancer has got completely cured just by will and positive attitude.
Every woman should do BSE (Breast self examination) to feel if there is some lump or swelling. If she finds one, she should undergo mammography. Every lump is not cancerous so there is no need to panic. Breast cancer detected on time can prevent morbidity and mortality. Pap smear and colostomy pick up the cancer of the cervix in very initial stages so now a days chemo is not required in all cases.
No one knows exactly why a normal breast cell becomes a cancerous one, and there is probably no single cause. It is thought, however, that breast cancer results from a combination of risk factors. These risk factors can be grouped into several categories:
Hereditary risk: It has long been known that women whose mothers or sisters had breast cancer have a higher risk of developing the disease themselves. Recently, it has been discovered that breast cancer can develop when a woman inherits a breast cancer susceptibility gene from one of her parents. However, it is important to realize that 85 – 90 percent of breast cancers and NOT hereditary, and that all women need to be screened for breast cancer, even if no one in their families have ever had the disease.
Hormonal risk factors: The female hormones estrogen and progesterone are involved in breast cancer formation. For example, it is known that women who start to menstruate at an early age, or who have a late menopause have a higher risk of breast cancer than women who do not. It is also known that women who take hormone replacement therapy after menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Age: Breast cancer becomes much more common as women grown older.
Gender: Most breast cancer occurs in women, although about 12,000 cases of breast cancer occur in men in the United States each year.
Diet and Exercise: Studies have shown that women who exercise are less likely to develop breast cancer than sedentary women. Studies have also shown that women who gain weight after menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer compared to women who do not.
Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain. In fact, when it first develops, breast cancer may cause no symptoms at all. But as the cancer grows, it can cause these changes:
a lump or thickening in the breast or armpit
a change in the size or shape of the breast
discharge from the nipple
a change in the color or texture of the skin of the breast or areola (such as dimpling, puckering, or scaliness).
Any changes in the breast should be reported to a doctor without delay. Symptoms can be caused by cancer or by a number of less serious conditions. Early diagnosis is especially important for breast cancer because the disease responds best to treatment before it has spread. The earlier breast cancer is found and treated, the better a woman’s chance for complete recovery.
Visual inspection looks for changes in breast contour, new dimpling, nipple inversion, discharge, moles, puckering or persistent sores. Palpation is using the pads of the fingers to press down and feel the tissue around the breasts for any unusual lumps.
Mammography is an x-ray of the breast that reveals suspicious areas that are denser than normal breast tissue or have abnormal deposits of calcium. Mammography is an important screening test which can show a breast cancer long before it is big enough to be felt in the breast. Women over age 40 should undergo a mammogram every year in order to detect breast cancers when they are small and can be treated easily. .
Ultrasonography uses high frequency sound waves that enter the breast and bounce back. The pattern of their echoes produces a picture called a sonogram that detects whether the breast lump is solid (possibly cancerous) or filled with fluid (non-cancerous). An ultrasound is usually recommended to evaluate a palpable breast lump or an abnormality seen on a mammogram.
Amongst the thousands of genes we have, some genes make ‘protective proteins that act as brakes’ in a normal cell that is going thru the cell cycle. The cell is genetically primed to grow to a certain size and then divide to form two new cells, then grow again and then form two cells.
Normally cell division is required, during foetal development, to carry new born babies and children to adulthood, to regenerate injured tissues etc. but the body can’t have such divisions happening unchecked therefore it makes proteins that act as signals for the cell to stop dividing… sometimes a mutation occurs in the DNA of cells leading to NON production of the protecting protein in such cases the cells goes on dividing ultimately forming cancer.
Genes that make protective cell cycle ‘braking’ proteins are termed “tumor suppressor” genes. They have the above described function in normal cells and these genes are seen to be inactivated by mutation or silencing in tumors… hence termed tumor suppressors.
In breast cancer, BRCA tumor suppressor gene was identified a decade or more back. It is mutated and silenced in hereditary breast cancer patients who form a small percentage of all breast cancers patients. Very interesting finding of great use in diagnosis and prognosis but most breast cancers are non hereditary and BRCA gene was not associated with these common cancers.
When I read a book by Louise Hay called ‘You Can Heal Your Life I thought it was just another self help book but slowly as I practiced the methods of positive healing from there I gained so much confidence and learned to manage even the slightest pain.
Everyone should keep a copy of this valuable book.
The simple way of bringing change in my attitude brought tremendous change in my physical, mental and emotional health. Everyday I do these positive thinking exercises and see the result immediately.
During my days of illness, the stress levels had gone much beyond any limits of my thinking and this particular book truly healed me. Without medication and any medical help I came back to good health. Even now I manage daily dis- eases with it and try tokeep myself free of guilt, hurts, pent up emotions, regrets or any such negative emotions.
The power of positive thinking is one way to avoid the risk of any cancer especially breast cancer. Positive thinking is a mental attitude that anticipates happiness, success and favorable outcomes in every situation or action you do. The thoughts get registered in your subconscious mind and you start taking action to create favorable change.
A positive outlook can help you to cope better with stressful situations and can change your life for the better.
Connect with your inner
Connecting with your inner or listening to the instincts is one of the most common ways to develop positive thinking. Whenever any negative thoughts enter your mind, try to replace it with a constructive one. For example, “I won’t be able to do it” will be put forward as “I will do it”. Practice this regularly and you will soon be able to master your mind. Mind is a devious thing and one should never let it overpower us.
Meditation is the key
Meditation calms the mind and relaxes the body. Meditation gives inner strength, peace of mind, relaxation and a sense of bliss, which helps to think positively. So, regular meditation can lead to a calm inner and healthy mind, body and soul.
Always see the brighter side of life
Try to believe that everything happens for a reason and embrace the concept that something good will come out of every situation that momentarily seems bad. Always look on the bright side of life and it will work wonders for you.
Communication helps in a big way
Not saying the things you feel can give a sense of frustration, anxiety and anger, thus giving way to negative thoughts. Hence, communication is an important aspect of positive thinking.
Believe in yourself
Believe in yourself and your capabilities to become more confident. Make a positive commitment to yourself and to the people around you. Praise yourself and be enthusiastic. Love yourself and say it often that you are blessed by the positive forces around you. Staying connected with the universe around you helps in big way.
Tips to positive thinking
Be optimistic and expect favorable outcomes in every situation.
Cultivate the habit of reading inspiring books.
Find reasons to smile more often. It’s a great stress buster.
Try to use positive words, e.g. “I can”, “it will be done”, “it is possible” while thinking and talking.
Engage yourself in enjoyable recreational activities.
Interact with people who have a positive outlook in life.
Positive thinking needs consistent effort as you are creating a new habit. On the other hand, negative thoughts can rip your focus from your goal. There is no greater joy than living a healthy and positive life. So take charge of your mind and think positive. Remember, you are what you think.