Assist. Prof. Dr. Gözde İyigün, lecturer at Eastern Mediterranean University’s (EMU) Faculty of Health Sciences, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Department, has made exercise suggestions during October Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Assist. Prof. İyigün, stated that October was determined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as Breast Cancer Awareness Month to indicate the importance of early diagnosis and create awareness. She said: “In the United States of America (USA), one of eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer. While this rate is highest in Northern Europe and the USA, we observe that it is moderate in Western Europe and South Africa, and lowest in Asia”.
She Spoke of the Risk Factors
After remarking on the increase in the number of cancer cases in the Western countries for the last 25 years, Assist. Prof. İyigün said: “This increase is related to the increasing average of life expectancy, change of lifestyle (dietary habits, decreasing physical activity), increasing number of x-rays taken and the increase in hospital appliances. Breast cancer risk increases significantly with age and also, a first rate relation to a person with breast cancer is considered to be the most common risk factor. Women with multiple first degree relatives with breast cancer are 5 times more under risk than those without. Another vital factor increasing the risk of getting breast cancer is age. Advanced age is an important risk factor and women over 50 are 4 times more likely to get breast cancer than those under 50.
Importance of Exercise
Prof. Dr. İyigün emphasised that in addition to these irrevocable factors, the patient’s history of fertility, socioeconomic level, dietary habits, hormonal supplement intake, use of birth control pills, and the use of alcohol and cigarettes are among the risk factors which can alter the ratio; and continued: “As this is the case, creating awareness concerning these risk factors, which can alter a one’s risk level of getting breast cancer, is of vital importance for taking precautions. Studies show that the risk is decreased for women who exercise. Taking 1.25 – 2.5 hours of double-quick walks weekly can decrease the risk of breast cancer by 18% and longer walks only increase this percentage. Especially for women under the age of 40, it is widely known that exercise decreases the risk of breast cancer. For women who exercise 4 or more times weekly, it is known that the risk is 60% in comparison to women who do not work out. While exercising in the early ages can postpone periods for 3 years, it is known that a 1 year postponed period can decrease of breast cancer risk by 20%. We should exercise to maintain our health before it is too late”.