[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A big thank you to a handful of you who picked up the phone to tell me how much they liked my sister’s post.
It means a great deal to both of us and to those of us who have experienced in first-hand.
I had a one-on-one chat with Dr Amit Bhargava who is a Senior Consultant and Medical Oncologist at Batra Hospital and Medical Research Center.
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- 1. Breast cancer is one of the most commonest cancers in metro cities. In fact, new statistics show 1 in every 30 women to have breast cancer. Sad but true.
- 2. The doc continued to tell me how till about 3-5 years ago, his women were at least in their 50s, after going through menopause. Now, most of his patients are women in mid-thirties or late-thirties, a reality that somewhere, is really frightening.
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- My next question (after being shocked), was how to stay away from cancer. His suggestion? to get your (you, me, us) to get our lifestyle in order. This is going to be tough one, but something we apparently all need. Start by getting your BMI and waist-to-hip-ratio checked, lose weight if you have some extra kilos on (‘coz that really affects the metabolism), and make sure you have a healthy diet full of greens, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. If you have money, or if your parents’ have money, it’s better you spend it on your body and yourself–at least some of it–and spend some lesser at weekend bingeing, partying and shopping. He also said exercise is really important (this is something that I struggle with myself, the motivation, the drive), but if you can, please try to work out for about 30 minutes. There is so much research, new studies, being performed that cardio, when done right (HIIT i.e. high intensity interval training), brings with it a host of goodness with it: you tone up, you burn calories, your metabolism gets better etc etc. Weight training has proved to be just awesome to combat muscle mass and bone density. So unless, you want to be one of those popping supplements in their 30s (there’s no shame in it), I’d suggest telling your trainer to add some weights to your regime. Dr Bhargava said fatty livers, metabolic syndrome, diabetes can itself cause a host of other lifestyle diseases, so control these as much as possible.
- Finally, we came to tests. The doctor recommends a self-breast examination once every 3 months (Google it, and just, you know, do it). It was a self-breast examination that had helped my Mom too. So yeah, there’s truth to what he says. Next, he recommended women in their 20s and 30s who are at high risk, including me, to get preventive screening tests. As most of you probably know, a mammogram is high in radiation and is quite painful, and is recommended for us after we are 40. So what about us? I asked him, the lucky ones who are at higher risk, thanks to genetic predisposition. He suggested getting a consult about an MRI instead of an ultrasound: it is much lower on radiation and high on specificity, and gives a clear picture of your boobies to the onco.
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- There’s just one more thing, that shouldn’t be: don’t take everyday stresses to the heart OK? Stress was one of the most major factors for my mum’s battle with cancer and you, only you, can do something about it. So if you can’t get a 90% in your exams, it’s OK! if this boy is not calling you up, don’t lose your head over it, if office politics is getting the better of you every day, I suggest you look for another job. ‘Coz none of these are worth it. Really…your health is much more important. I find doing particular things, very mundane, like listening to a particular band really calms me down. Or that deep breaths in the middle of a fight really helps. So find your own thing. But please do.
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