October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and our series of posts in an effort to help increase the attention and support, for awareness, early detection and treatment.
Why we worry …FEW FACTS
- Breast Cancer Burden has doubled in India over the last 25 years. It is the commonest cancer in Indian women overall now.
- Incidence Rate in India is increasing in the younger age group.
- Aggressive cancers in the young population tend to be less responsive to treatment and have a worse prognosis.
- Importance of early diagnosis and treatment -lack of awareness and screening cause late-stage presentations leading to unfavorable outcomes and poor survival rates.
Are you at risk?
The risk associated with Breast cancer can be categorized into modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors
Non-modifiable risk factors
Gender-Women are at a higher risk of developing Breast Cancer, maybe due to more exposure to hormones that promote cell growth.
Age -Incidence increase with age.
Genetics -There are certain inherited rare gene mutations that increase the risk.
Family h/o Breast Cancer -If there is a positive history of breast ca in family members then your chances of getting it are higher.
Past h/o Breast Cancer-If there has been breast cancer in one breast, then chances of getting it in other breasts are higher.
Modifiable risk factors
Obesity -Being obese puts you at a higher risk.
Alcohol-excessive alcohol intake increases the risk of breast cancer.
Hormone Intake -women treated with HRT to get relief of postmenopausal symptoms have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Radiation Exposure -a moderate-to-high dose of exposure to ionizing radiation exposure or receiving radiation therapy to chest area increases the cancer risk.
Pregnancy and Lactation have the protective effect of the occurrence of Breast Cancer
Prevention by changing lifestyle risk factors
- Maintain ideal body weight
- Exercise Regularly
- Quite smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
- Breastfeed the babies
- Avoid unnecessary radiation exposure
- Prevention by genetic counseling
If there is a family history of breast cancer (either mother, sister or daughter ), then the genetic testing for the presence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can be done.If the tests are positive, you may require genetic counseling and advice from your surgeon.
Breast cancer -Signs and Symptoms
- New mass or lump especially if it is hard to feel
- Change in the shape or size of breast
- Dimpling or scarring of the skin
- Inversion or sinking of nipple
- Abnormal discharge from the nipple
- Swelling of lymph nodes in armpits or collar bone area.
You can check for these signs of breast cancer by examining your own Breast every month. If you find anything abnormal, consult your doctor and get yourself clinically examined.
Clinical Breast Examination
- examination of Breast and underarms did by the Doctor for any changes, lumps or discharge etc.
Imaging Tests –
- USG Breast
- MRI scan
- Core Needle Biopsy
- Surgical Open Biopsy
- Nipple Discharge Cytology