Mothers face several body changes throughout and after pregnancy. Unfortunately, this can mean some unwelcome developments in your body. Recent studies have found that the risk of breast cancer after giving birth is indeed higher for women. This risk remains for the following 24 years and subsides post this time period. The risk is at its highest five years after delivery.
Due to a misconception that breast cancer only affects the elderly, young women neglect taking tests; and by the time they get diagnosed, the disease tends to have progressed and become more serious. Hence, it is a good idea to get a postpartum medical checkup done every month to steer clear of these issues.
Does Late Childbirth Increase the Risk of Developing Breast Cancer?
Studies have concluded that the risk of postpartum breast cancer is greater for women who conceive and deliver late, that is, after the age of 35. There is no evidence of an increased risk of breast cancer in women who were under 25 at the time of delivery. There are no common risk factors of postpartum breast cancer in women. The risk factors differ for women based on age. Another study has stated that breast cancer tends to behave differently and is more aggressive during the postpartum period.
Signs of Postpartum Breast Cancer That Should Not be Ignored
Postpartum breast cancer is best diagnosed ahead of time so that the right treatment options can be looked at. As such, the following postpartum breast cancer symptoms should never be ignored and always checked out by a doctor:
- Blocked and swollen milk ducts
- Sore and itchy rashes on the nipples
- Redness on the breast or a dark patch on the breast
- Lumps in the breast
- Changes in the size and shape of the breast
- Discharge from the nipples
If you have these symptoms, ensure that you visit a doctor immediately to get yourself checked.
Tips to Prevent Breast Cancer
While the risk of getting postpartum breast cancer is negligible, it never hurts to be careful and keep track of certain measures that are capable of preventing breast cancer.
- Limit or avoid alcohol completely. Restrict yourself to one drink a day or even better, avoid it completely.
- Do not smoke. Smoking affects your overall health and increases your chances of breast cancer.
- Maintain your weight. Overweight or obese women are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Exercise regularly. A 30-minute walk every day or a moderate workout session would work; make sure that you add exercise to your routine.
- Breastfeed your newborn. Breastfeeding gives you a protective effect against breast cancer. The long you breastfeed, the safer you may be from breast cancer.
- Limit or avoid eating processed meat. Try and incorporate an organic diet.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and plan for a balanced diet each day.
- Limit hormone therapy. Taking up hormone therapy for over three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. In case you are on a short term hormone therapy, ask your doctor to prescribe low doses that work for you.
- Get a postpartum examination every month to rule out any doubts.
Early diagnosis is the key to preventing the development of breast cancer. If you notice any symptoms, visit your doctor immediately.