In commemoration of World Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Goodlife hosted a Twitter chat on the 17th of October 2018. During this Twitter Chat, Dr. Rabia Mukadam of Lancet Laboratories answered breast cancer related questions from the audience.
Here is a recap of the questions and expert answers, as provided by Dr. Rabia:

Does working out reduce the risk of getting breast cancer?

Yes ,working out helps improve your immune system and improve your hormonal balance.

When conducting a breast self exam, how do you tell the difference between breast cancer lumps and lumps that you have because your breasts are growing?
Cancerous lumps tend to be irregular in shape,feel solid and fixed to tissues in the breast

Can using the pill cause breast cancer?
According to research,birth control pills slightly increase the risk of breast cancer but the importance and increase is unique to each woman and depends on many factors including age general health,personal and family risk of cancer.

Does drinking alcohol increase your chances of getting Breast Cancer?
Alcohol increase level of estrogen and through this mechanism can affect breast cancer.

Does a family history of breast cancer put someone at a higher risk?
Yes, there are definite genetic associations in breast cancer.

Are mammograms painful?
Mammograms can be uncomfortable but definitely not painful.

How much does a mammogram cost?
Prices vary from hospital to hospitals but are within the Ksh.8000 – Ksh.10000 range and cheaper during cancer awareness months.

At what age should I have a mammogram and how often?
Age 40 and above- annual testing. Age above 55, can get one every two years.

How can someone know the stage and severity of breast cancer?
The diagnosis needs to be confirmed by biopsy and staging involves specialized radiological investigations like CT scans.

What treatment options are currently available for breast cancer in Kenya?
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are all available in Kenya.

Can men also get Breast cancer?
Yes, a small percentage of men do get breast cancer.

Can lack of breastfeeding cause cancer
Breast feeding is good and it does protect against breast cancer. Breastfeeding mothers have fewer menstrual cycles and so are not exposed as much to estrogen which has been shown to increase the risk of certain breast cancers. Breastfeeding makes breast cells more resistant to mutations that can cause cancer.

How can we support breast cancer survivors?
There are quite a few support groups that are either hospital based or private. E.g. Faraja Cancer Support.

Are there preventative measures one can use in their 20’s?
Leading a healthy lifestyle, avoiding alcohol as it’s known to increase risk of cancer. No smoking as that also increases the risk of cancer. Control weight and be physically active.

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