- Do not ignore any lump or node in your breasts
- Self examine your breasts regularly
- In case you are above 40, get your Mammogram done
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake
Breast cancer is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells, which results in formation of lumps within the breast. It is one of the treatable forms of cancers. If not detected early, it can be a life threatening disease as it can also spread to other parts of the body.
Breast cancer can occur at any age but, it is most common in women above the age of 40 years. The average age of developing breast cancer has also undergone a significant shift from 50 – 70 years to 30 – 50 years.
- Family History: Women whose mother or sister had breast cancer carry a higher risk of developing this disease.
- Breast Lumps: Women who have had some type of non-cancerous breast lumps are more likely to develop cancer later on.
- Dense Breast Tissue: Women with dense breast tissue have a higher chance of developing breast cancer.
- Age: As women get older, they are at higher risk of breast cancer.
- Diet and Lifestyle Choices: Women who smoke, eat high fat diet, drink alcohol are more at risk of developing breast cancer.
- Obesity: Overweight women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Oestrogen Exposure: Women who started having periods earlier or entered menopause later than usual are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This is because their bodies have been exposed to oestrogen for longer duration.
Watch out for the Signs:
Breast Self Examination:
Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention
- It is important to self examine your breasts. Women should be aware as to how their breast normally look and feel. If you feel any change, then consult the doctor.
- It is advisable for women who are around 40 to get their mammography done. Mammography is a simple radiographic technique which helps in detecting irregularities in the breast tissue.
- Addition of vegetables and fruits in your diet helps in maintaining a healthy body weight.
- For new mothers, it is advisable to breastfeed their child at least for one year.
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess.
NEED OF THE HOUR is awareness about breast examination, beginning from 20 years of age, and regular screening from a qualified doctor, so that it can be detected early and treated successfully.
Busting the Breast Cancer Myths:
- A lump in your breast means you have breast cancer: Only a small percentage of lumps in the breast are cancerous. But if there is a persistent lump in the breast or any change in the breast tissue, always consult a doctor for a clinical breast exam.
- If you have a family history of breast cancer, you will develop breast cancer, too: Only around 10% of individuals having breast cancer have a family history of this
disease. Most women who are diagnosed with cancer have no family history.
- Breast cancer is contagious: Breast cancer neither can be caught from someone nor can be transferred to someone. It is a non communicable disease which results from uncontrolled cell growth of the breast tissue.
- A mammogram can cause spread of breast cancer: A mammogram or X-ray of breast helps in early detection of breast cancer. It requires a very small dose of radiation. The risk of harm from this radiation is extremely low.
Choosing a Cancer Center is an unavoidable decision when one is diagnosed with cancer. Going through numerous statistics, asking for referrals from friends and family, and researching hospitals in the area can be a daunting task. Many patients feel powerless, scared, and defeated. They face an intimidating medical condition and often don′t know where to turn for accurate information, help, and comfort.