How to pre­vent or de­tect breast cancer early

Business Standard - - ECONOMY - AJAY BAPNA

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 cancer. The doc­tors told her she had a good chance of sur­vival, if she had come ear­lier for treat­ment.

Breast cancer 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 cancer.

Symp­toms of breast cancer 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 cancer pa­tients in In­dia are de­tected with the disease when it’s at an ad­vance stage. Breast cancer can’t be pre­vented, but some steps can be taken to help de­tect it early, when the cancer 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 health 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 health care provider.

Th­ese steps can help de­tect breast cancer early and pre­vent can­cer­ous cells from spread­ing fur­ther.

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

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