Breast Cancer is Preventable - Real story from Aparna Pengat

"Breast Cancer is Preventable" , Read the story of a women...
Aparna Pengat

"Prevention is better than cure. The medical fraternity keeps reinforcing this thought and for a good reason too. Although in my case I couldn't prevent the disease, but I could cure it due to the precautionary measures I undertook early on," says breast cancer survivor Dr. Hemangi Jerajani.Mumbai based Dr. Jerajani is the Professor and Head of the Department of Dermatology at the Lokmanya Tilak Medical College (LTM) and LTM General Hospital.In the year 2000 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. "Detected is how I would put it. Being in the medical profession, I was already aware of the fact that I had all the factors that could result in cancer. So it wasn't really a nasty surprise, but an expected development, which I was prepared to tackle head on," she affirms.Here she talks about how breast cancer can be prevented and why health tests should be a routine part of your life."I knew I had it coming."I was aware that I had possible factors that led me to breast cancer.Don't get me wrong, just because I was aware of it doesn't mean I was inviting it. I had my first child at a very late age as we were all studying then. Plus I could not breast feed my baby for long as I did not have enough milk production.I also had a history of familial obesity and blood sugar. Although my diet was normal, for some time I was on the wrong side of the weight scale.I was made aware of these factors during my regular tests. So I knew that I am the one who would get it."My children are prone to it."Simply because I have had it. It is genetic. In retrospect, I think I know that some of my relatives did die of cancer, although at that time there was not so much awareness about it. But then it had the resultant effect of getting passed on to the next generation.So I have already informed my kids and my maternal cousins to take care of themselves as they are prone to get it at an early age. They needn't wait till they are menopausal when women are susceptible to get it."Regular tests saved me."I used to go for my regular checkups and that is one thing I must thank myself for.I had a small spot on my breast which I couldn't feel at all. My regular breast examination did not give any indication of cancer. But when I went for my serial mammography, it picked up a centimetre sized tumour.Thankfully, it was detected at the earliest, and I had the lymph nodes removed though it did not contain any cancer cells. But it had to be removed so as to prevent it from spreading onto my other breast.The early detection and proper prognosis of the situation saved me from having pain killers. I was asked to undergo radiation for two and half months and continue taking the medication tamoxifen for five years."Being young does not mean you are immune."Although, cancer especially of uterine and breast are more common in women who have crossed the menopausal age, that is 45 years and above, youngsters are not exactly immune to it either.Today, we are all into aping the lifestyle of the west including their diet. Remember what is good for you may not be good for others.Similarly the diet of the west is modified and suited to their climate and lifestyle. Aping that blindly is a major trigger factor for diseases.There is wisdom in our diet too.Lack of physical exercise, obesity, blood sugar, diabetes, delaying having children, non breast feeding combined with lack of awareness on cancer, sex education and reproductive health could predispose you to breast, uterine or cancer of cervix.

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