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Alcohol is the most serious cause of breast cancer

03 January 2013 / 20:01:20  GRReporter
4060 reads

Victoria Mindova

Alcohol is one of the most serious causes of breast cancer in women as Despina Katsohi, who is an oncologist specialist at one of the largest medical centres in Athens, ''Hygeia'', explained for GRReporter. In Greece, 1,500 women have breast cancer each year. The disease is curable if detected in time. The threat of the disease increases with age. Statistics show that one out of every 25 women aged between 40 and 59 years is threatened by breast cancer.

Experts recommend that 20-year old girls should examine their own breasts every month and have a mastography every three years. After the age of 40, women should have a mastography every year. Women who drink more than one glass of wine or a small dose of spirits, or more than one beer a day are exposed to a greater risk of breast cancer compared with abstainers. A more healthy diet and dealing with stress through exercise is also a kind of prevention against this disease, and against many others as well.

The treatment of breast cancer is successful in 98% of cases if performed in the first two stages of this type of disease. Therefore, prevention is of paramount importance to prevent the lethal outcome. In women aged over 60 years, the risk increases and one in 15 women is directly threatened.

Despina Katsohi specializes in radiation therapy and she has initiated the development of a special application of information and prevention of breast cancer for smart phones. It is called Mastos and is at present available for owners of iPhones and iPads but will soon be available for all types of smart phones for a free download.

"We use last-generation equipment in radiation therapy. New technologies are an important part of our work. We are currently carrying out a very wide information campaign for prevention. When you look around, almost every woman is already using a smart phone. The Mastos application is another of the known ways to remind women that they should take care of themselves before it is too late," says the expert.  It contains not only general information about breast cancer and the statistics associated with it, but also an educational video on how to examine ourselves at home as well as a calendar to remind women about regular medical examinations.

Besides being a doctor, Katsohi is the initiator of the voluntary AKOS-life association. It brings together not only doctors, but also specialists in different fields as well as people who have beaten cancer. They are united in their common goal to spread prevention habits and educate the people as to how to create them so as to detect a possible problem in time.

"The positive examples of people who have beaten the disease are very important in our efforts to remove the prejudices in society against diseases like cancer." The prejudices, which the doctor means, are largely related to the fact that cancer is directly related with a lethal outcome from the disease, which can actually be avoided by medical examinations. "We do not expect women to make their own diagnosis but when we know our body and observe some changes, it is much easier to detect something in development and to suspend or remove it," she says.

Volunteering in the AKOS association has its therapeutic impacts on doctors as well. "In our daily work, we deal with people in difficult situations. We rarely see them when they are cured. The initiatives related to the promotion of prevention always bring to the fore people who have overcome this severe disease. This is not only a socially useful activity but it also acts as a psychological incentive and reward to me. It gives us the power to continue to seek new ways to fight as doctors."

The association is participating in the organization of the Tango Greco show at the Badminton Theatre on 18 February the motto of which is "Harmony – we love and take care of our body." Before the show, there will be a performance related to the prevention of breast cancer. The doctor says that the music, the dance and the atmosphere of the Greek tango have a direct connection with the desire to love our body. Therefore, the association she supports greets the combination of cultural events with campaigns promoting prevention. "People accept the information much more easily if it relates to a pleasant cultural event rather than just listening to a dry speech."

Katsohi says that the spread of prevention practices contributes to the decrease of the number of cases of lethal outcome associated with breast cancer. Smoking in the fair sex, however, has caused an increase in lung cancer cases in recent years. "It is very important to take care of our body and to love it, to know it and to make regular examinations, not to misuse it and to keep it," insists the specialist.

Tags: HealthHeirs of HippocratesBreast cancerPrevention
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