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How to prevent or detect breast cancer early

To detect abnormalities in breasts, it is essential for adult women of all ages to perform a self examination five days after menstruation

Ajay Bapna 

breast cancer
An employee of works at its laboratory

Meera (name changed), a bank manager in her late 30s, discovered a lump in her left breast while bathing in the morning. She ignored it as the lump was not causing her any pain.

She went to a physician for a general check-up after a few months. During mammographic screening, she was diagnosed with second-stage breast The doctors told her she had a good chance of survival, if she had come earlier for treatment.

Breast develops from breast duct tissues and is one of the most common cancers among females. Pregnancy after 30, no breastfeeding, obesity, late menopause, early onset of menstruation, smoking, and alcohol consumption majorly contribute to the risk factors of breast
 
Symptoms of breast include a lump in the breast, change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid excretion from the nipple, or a red scaly patch of skin. In those with distant spread of the disease, there may be bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, shortness of breath, or yellow skin.

Almost all breast patients in India are detected with the disease when it’s at an advance stage. Breast can’t be prevented, but some steps can be taken to help detect it early, when the cells are small and haven’t spread. It is also easier to treat it successfully in early stages.

Mammography is the most important screening test for detection. The breasts are x-rayed to detect tumours even before they can be felt. It is also important to know the signs and symptoms so that any time an abnormality is discovered, it can be investigated upon by a care professional at the earliest.

To detect abnormalities in breasts, it is essential for adult women of all ages to perform a self examination five days after menstruation. They can use the fingertips to check for lumps or hardened knots. In case of any abnormalities, they shouldn’t waste any time in consulting a care provider.
 
These steps can help detect breast early and prevent cancerous cells from spreading further.


The writer is Senior Consultant & HOD, Medical Oncology Department, Bhagwan Mahaweer Hospital

First Published: Sat, September 16 2017. 23:36 IST
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