On average, about 40% of women discover lumps in their breasts. It is essential to see your health-care provider if you detect any lumps or other abnormalities in your breast.
My life came shattering when my sister, a fit Indian Air Force officer, was detected with breast cancer just at the age of 29. With a perfectly simple lifestyle, which included a lot of physical activities and no signs of smoking and excessive drinking, we came to our minds was “Why Her”? She was leading a healthy life; eating plenty, having fun with her mates and serving the nation, and suddenly, one ‘ugly’ day, she was diagnosed with breast cancer! During her treatment and diagnosis, she was told that her cancer-type was lifestyle-borne cancer. She kept wondering what went wrong with her to go through all of this. However, with the rising rate of cancer among young women, it was difficult to pinpoint what went wrong and where. The only saving grace here for was early detection and self-breast cancer examination. My sister is now a cancer survivor and ensures regular checkups every three months for a cancer-free life.
Dr Pawan Gupta, Associate Director, Surgical Oncology, Jaypee Hospital, Noida shares, “It is normal for women to have lumps in their breasts. One should know the difference between malignant or non-malignant ones. Most of the cases in India are diagnosed only in their fourth stage. The last stage of cancer means cancer would have spread in the body.”
Early Detection Can Save Lives
Empowering women with knowledge about their own body so that they seek medical advice at the right time to win over their disease. Ever heard of the simple ways of detecting breast cancer at home? Here is the 3 minutes, 3 fingers self-breast examination once in 30 days:
- 3 steps: Look, Feel and Check
- 3 Fingers: you feel your breast with 3 fingers
- 30 days: It is essential to do a self-check once in every month
The lady herself detects most breast cancers. The 3 minutes 3 finger examination will help every lady to check on her own the changes taking place in her breasts.
Changes to Look Out For
Look out for these symptoms:
- A visible or a sense of a lump in the breasts
- Irritation in the skin around the breasts
- Pain in the nipple
- Scaling of the nipple skin
- White discharge from the nipples other than milk. Staining on the bra are signs of discharge from nipples
- Consult a doctor immediately if you encounter such symptoms. Even one symptom is enough for breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Those at the risk of breast cancer are as follows:
- As women age
- Inherited genetic mutations likeBRCA1 and BRCA2)
- Women with dense breast tissues
- Breast cancer cases in the family including mother or sisters
- Minor risk factors for breast cancer include if the woman:
- Have had no biological children
- Had her first child after age 30
- Never breastfed a child
- Reached menopause after age 55
- Had her first period before age 12
- Weight gain after menopause
- Maintaining a sedentary lifestyle
- Cigarette smoking
- Alcohol consumption
Can Breast cancer be prevented?
There is no definitive preventive measure, but increased weight, lack of physical activities and an unhealthy lifestyle make women prone to lifestyle diseases. Several studies indicate that a diet rich in vegetables, poultry and dairy helps in reducing the chances of breast cancer. As a piece of advice, the following are some of the factors that can reduce the chances of breast cancer:
- Physical activities and exercising
- Keep a check on sudden increase and reduction in weight
- Keep a check on the alcohol intake
Read more articles on Cancer
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