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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Understanding the complexity of Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! While millions of people worldwide are breast cancer survivors, the cases of women with breast cancer are rising rapidly and it mainly affects women, but in rare cases, men can get breast cancer too. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the easier it gets to be treated.

How common is breast cancer in India

One of the most common malignancies among women in India is Breast cancer. It is estimated that 1 woman in India gets diagnosed with breast cancer every four minutes and 1 woman dies of it every eight minutes. By the time cancer gets detected, it may have undergone several cycles of growth and may have spread to other organs. Breast cancer generally starts when cells in the breast begin to divide and grow abnormally. Research also suggests that breast cancer is caused by a combination of different factors.

What are Breast cancer symptoms

In the early stages, it does not cause symptoms. In many cases, a tumor may be too small to be felt, but an abnormality can be viewed on a mammogram. If a tumor can be felt, the first sign is usually a new lump in the breast that was not there before.

Here are some common Breast cancer symptoms 

  • Pain in the breast
  • Red, having pitted skin all over the breast
  • Swelling in all or parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple
  • Peeling, scaling, flaking of skin
  • Inverted nipple
  • A sudden, unexplained change in shape or size of the breast
  • Lump, swelling under the arm.

If you have any of the above symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer. If you notice a lump and other symptoms you must see the doctor for further examination and testing.

Is self-examination important?

Inspecting your breasts on your own is known as a breast self-exam. It helps to increase your breast awareness by using your hands and eyes to monitor the look and feel of your breasts. The importance of self-examination for women cannot be overemphasized. It must begin as early as 20 years of age and must continue well into adulthood along with regular screening by a doctor. After the age of 40, regular mammograms are advice to detect the disease early. It is particularly important if you notice a lump, you need not be scared as not all lumps are malignant. There are many other breast diseases such as fibrocystic disease or benign fibroadenomas that may also cause nodularity or lumps.

 

What are some of the imaging tests you need to take up to detect breast cancer

Here are some tests that can help you detect breast cancer.

1)   Mammogram: A common type of X-Ray that doctors use during an initial breast cancer screening. During this procedural test, the breasts of the woman are compressed between two firm surfaces which spreads the tissue of the breasts. The X-ray image then captures the Black and White images of the breasts which are uploaded for cancer diagnosis.

2)  Ultrasound: This scan uses sound waves to help a doctor differentiate between a solid mass and a fluid-filled cyst.

3)  MRI: Combines different images of the breast to help a doctor to identify cancer or any other abnormalities. It may be a follow up to mammogram or ultrasound. Doctors may sometimes use them as a screening tool for those who are at higher risk of breast cancer.

The frequency of breast examination is essential for diagnosing cancer. The age and risk of breast cancer increases if proper measures are not adopted. We are Rao Hospital take the quality of service we offer very seriously, as well as the safety of all procedures, and of course, respect for your privacy. Schedule an appointment with our expert gynecologist to general screening for breast cancer.

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