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Preventing breast cancer begins with early detection

The importance of early detection cannot be overstated

The most common form of cancer among Indian women is breast cancer. In India in 2018, there were 27.7% new cases of breast cancer among women. Every four minutes, a woman receives a breast cancer diagnosis. An estimated 2 million women were newly diagnosed with breast cancer. With 87,090 women dying from breast cancer in 2018, India had the second-highest mortality rate worldwide (Source).

The most important measure for women is early screening. Regular check-ups and screening tests combined with therapy are the most effective way to avoid breast cancer.

Risk Factors for breast cancer

The following risk factors in women can causes breast cancer

Failing to breastfeed

Young age at which one experiences first menstrual cycle (younger than 12 years)

Breast cancer, or having a close relative (mother, sister, father, or daughter) who has, especially early (pre-menopausal) breast cancer

Consuming alcohol

Beginning menopause later in life (older than 55 years)

Having a history of chest radiation exposure

Sedentary lifestyle with obesity

Symptoms of the Breast Cancer

A new or unusual-feeling breast lump or tissue thickening in comparison to the surrounding tissue

Breast discomfort

Breast skin that is pitted and red or discolored

Swelling in the breast

A secretion from the nipple that is not breast milk

A nipple discharge that is bloody

Skin on your breast or nipple flaking, scaling, or peeling

A sudden, inexplicable change in your breast's shape or size

Changes in the way your breast skin looks

An armpit lump or swelling

What you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk

Breastfeeding (exclusively breastfeeding throughout the first 6 months, and continuing for 12 months or longer) 

Undergoing routine cancer screenings as advised.

Reducing alcohol consumption

Regularly exercising

Being physically active 

Maintaining healthy weight

Breast Cancer Screening

Mammography

Breasts are imaged with low-dose x-rays during mammograms. Regular mammograms can help find breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment has the best chance of being successful. 

According to American Cancer Screening, mammograms can be used to start screening for women between the ages of 40 and 44 every year. 

Mammograms should be performed every year on women between the ages of 45 and 54. 

Women over the age of 55 can choose to switch to a mammogram every other year or continue with yearly exams. 

Women should continue to be screened as long as they are in excellent health and are expected to live at least another ten years. 

All women should be aware of what to expect during a mammography for breast cancer screening, as well as what the test can and cannot do.

CA 15-3 (Cancer antigen 15-3)

It is blood test that Monitors Treatment and for recurrence

FNAC (Fine needle aspiration cytology)

Using a tiny, hollow needle, a small sample of breast tissue or fluid is aspirated during a fine needle aspiration (FNA) and examined for the presence of cancer cells.

Breast biopsy

Breast tissue is sampled during a breast biopsy in order to be tested.

Author

Ms. Niharika Sharma

(M.Sc. Microbiology)

 

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