By Dariana T. Alicea Torres
Maris Brenda is a student diagnosed with breast cancer in her third year of college at The University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (UPRM). She decided to help others by raising awareness about the disease; she spoke about her experience at the event “Colegio Goes Pink” that was held Thursday October 20, 2011.
Two years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the early age of 20. “I believe that after the experience I’ve been through, it is my responsibility to lend a hand to those that are facing the same situation that I once did” Brenda said.
According to The American Cancer Society, more than 45,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and the numbers have increased over the last 10 decades. According to the same source, about 2,140 of men are also diagnosed with breast cancer. One may ask: “Can men get breast cancer?” Yes, men can get breast cancer too, but here are some ways to prevent it.
As students at UPRM, one of the most common things in the social world is drinking on weekends and for some, any day is perfect for drinking. According to The Independent Health News website, consuming more than three drinks a day increases the chances of getting breast cancer at a young age; especially for women. The same source states that 2,000 of the 45,000 cases of breast cancer are because of drinking irresponsibly.
Brenda said that as a sophomore, she drank a lot, but after what happened to her, she stopped drinking. “I don’t tell my friends not to drink, but I advice them to drink less; the decision to not drink at all was my own” she stated. Drinking is not the only way to prevent breast cancer, healthy treats and meals also help.
Eating healthy is another way to prevent breast cancer; according to The Independent Health News, eating high-fat diet increases the level of female hormones oestrogen which encourages the growth of cancer cells.
Eating healthy helps, but doing exercise is a huge impact on preventing breast cancer. For women it is recommended that they workout at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week and men should exercise at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes. It doesn’t sound fair right? But it’s necessary.
Young Brenda stated that she runs every morning for at least 35 minutes non-stop and not only she feels healthy, but looks nice too.
Exercise and healthy meals prevent us from getting breast cancer, but ironically daily stress prevents it too. Surprisingly, having a stressful job prevents 40 percent of chances of getting breast cancer, according to a study by The British Medical Journal in 2005. Why is stress good? Because it lowers the levels of oestrogen, but be careful because excessive stress can be dangerous too.
Brenda said that as a student at UPRM, she didn’t need a stressful job, because her classes were enough and getting a job could have been harmful to her, but she recognizes that stress can sometimes be good for her.
Although stress is recommended, living in a stressed place is not. Living in a clean environment is an excellent way to stay healthy. Some chemicals and pollution are said to have the same effect that oestrogen has, therefore it can contradict eating fruits and having some stress.
“Where I live, it’s always clean; I’m obsessed with cleanliness, so that was never the problem for me” Brenda said.
“As a former breast cancer patient, I recommend to every men and women to get checked for breast cancer at least once a year, in addition to all the other things” she said. “It’s better to discover it on time.” she stated.
Breast cancer is more common nowadays and the right measures should be taken on time. Making responsible changes in lifestyles is highly recommended.