Awareness combats this, Say Experts!
We just saw the Breast Cancer awareness month passing. A worldwide campaign involving thousands of organisations to highlight the importance of breast cancer. This article is important not only for the women reading it but also for the men because Breast Cancer can happen in MEN too!
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Indian women today. It is surprising that cancer which can be so easily diagnosed by the patient herself/ himself gets neglected so very often that by the time patients come to the doctor, it’s already too late!
SO WHAT IS BREAST CANCER? Simply put, when the well-regulated cells of the breast begin to ‘throw tantrums’ and start dividing rampantly, it is called cancer. It is called a localised disease if it’s limited to the breast and it becomes stage 4 disease if it spreads to other parts of the body.
Any swelling in the breast or in the armpit is the most common presentation. This swelling usually grows in size and most often there is NO pain. The absence of pain is one of the most important reasons why patients ignore this symptom. Any discharge from the nipple can also be suspicious of cancer. Changes observed in the skin of the breast/ dimpling or any recent change in the shape of the breast or retraction of the nipple can be signs of cancer.
Breast cancer cannot be prevented but the best protection is early detection. All females should do a self-breast examination (multiple videos available on YouTube for technique) every month to check for any symptoms. In case of any doubt, they should meet an Oncosurgeon and get themselves investigated.
A Mammogram can identify breast cancer even in stage 0! It’s a very simple, fast and cheap investigation that is lifesaving and every female after 45 years of age should get an annual mammogram done.
Be Breast Aware! Cancer doesn’t care, so YOU have to!