Women urged to plan family early

Planning family early and breastfeeding babies for one to two years can significantly reduce breast cancer incidence among women, said head of the Breast Cancer Therapeutics Clinical investigations Branch, National Institute of Health, USA.

Dr. Jo Anne Zujewski in a session organized by SADA Welfare Foundation and sponsored by US Consulate General on Tuesday said breast cancer, more common among women as compared to men, has emerged to be an ailment of sedentary life style and unhealthy habits.

The ailment, she said is mainly a reproductive health disorder and registered to put at risk women who are obese and consequent to regular intake of high caloric food have early menstrual.

The tendency leads to early menopause too denying women of natural protection provided through estrogen (a hormone) that also protects women against heart diseases.

Late child bearing and pregnancies is again a major contributory factor closely linked to urban style of living, she said.

The researcher, however, in reply to a question said hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been identified to be a factor contributory to breast cancer.

Urging the women to watch their body mass index, she advised them to ensure a minimum 30 minutes brisk walk daily, controlled diet, no or extremely controlled hormone replacement therapy.

“Normal Body weight will keep one healthy and generally protect against breast cancer as well as from heart diseases and diabetes,” said the senior researcher.

She informed the participants comprising doctors, house wives as well as journalists that constant progress is being made to treat and even cure breast cancer.

“This, however, can equally benefit people in developing countries through a culture of monthly self breast examination among women reaching their 20s followed by mandatory mammography among those reaching 40s and above,” said Dr. Jo Anne Zujewski.

In an answer to another question, she said 10% to 30% women with family history are found to be inflicted with the disease while 70% are often caught unaware.

“They are shocked as why despite necessary precautions they had the ailment,” said the speaker.

This, however, does not mean that preventive measures must be ignored,” reiterated the researcher urging women with family history to be particularly careful in context of precaution as well as in terms of early clinical screening.

She agreed that patients visiting their gynecologists can be necessarily screened in countries like Pakistan, where women find it difficult to go for mammographies.

The speaker also agreed with some of the participants that the trend in Pakistan where doctors if suspect any abnormal growth or tumor in breast recommend doppler ultrasound is pertinent and effective as is cost effective as well as easily available.

In answer to a question she said there were no side effects of mammography as the risk of radiation exposure is minuscule.