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Breast cancer is one of the types of cancer that is found inside the cells of the breasts. It happens when the cells in the breast grow and divide abnormally, forming a mass of tissue called a tumour. Like any other cancer type, breast cancer can invade other tissues surrounding the breast area. It can also spread into the other parts of your body and make new tumours. (While it can appear both in men and women), it commonly occurs in women.
Therefore, every women need to be aware about its symptoms and their body. Breast cancer is more likely to be treated successfully if it gets diagnosed early when it isn’t grown and hasn’t spread into the body. In this post, we will be talking about effective ways on how you can diagnose breast cancer and save your life – by being breast aware.
There are certain risk factors such as genetic mutations or family history associated with breast cancer. Women who have such risk factors have a high probability of developing breast cancer. In such cases, women have to constantly undergo regular screenings.
Let’s look at the different risk factors of breast cancer:
The diagnosis of breast cancer at an early stage increases the chances of successful treatment and survival. There are different screening methods that aim to provide a healthy and longer life. With the help of the screening methods, 61% of breast cancer diagnoses can be effectively captured in a very early stage.
In some early stages, breast cancer may not show any clear symptoms as compared to other types of cancers. Therefore, the most critical factor in early diagnosis is to be aware about it, which is what we have explained in the next section.
In this section, you’ll learn about how you can be breast aware, which is essential in early diagnosis of breast cancer.
Being breast aware is all about knowing how your breasts normally look and feel. In case of any irregularities, you should immediately reach out to your doctor and get yourself examined. Many breast cancer specialists recommend annual screening mammograms to all women of age 40 and above. However, if you have a history of breast cancer in your family, specialists may recommend you to undergo screening tests at an early age.
There is a 5-point plan that you should follow to become breast aware:
Mammograms are a part of the screening process and prove to be quite helpful in early breast cancer detection and diagnosis. Mammograms help reveal the density of your breast tissues, along with other tests such as MRI and ultrasound.
The first and most common symptom of breast cancer is formation of a lump or mass in the tissue of your breasts. Even though these lumps are stiff and painless, they are most likely to be cancerous. However, you should reach out to a medical professional to discuss any lumps or changes in your breasts.
Here are the symptoms of breast cancer:
There are different screening tests that help in early detecting breast cancer, proving to be a lifesaver for many. However, you should be aware about self-examining your breasts at first.
Breast cancer can be early detected through different screening tests. There are some screenings, like self-checks or self-examinations, which an individual can perform themselves to keep an eye on their breast health. While in case of other screening tests, you need a professional doctor to perform them.
Let’s go through the different screening processes one by one:
Self-examining is also an effective way of early detecting breast cancer in people. Being familiar with your breasts will help you notice the changes early.
Understand the normal look and how your breasts feel usually. However, it doesn’t mean you should examine your breasts daily or every week.
You should be aware about their appearance before and during your menstrual period. Many women often get lumpiness in both their breasts because of the different factors such as their menstrual cycle, having children, gaining or losing some weight, etc. It’s quite normal and there is nothing to worry about. But make sure to check your breasts after some time. If the lumpiness goes away, then you shouldn’t worry about it. However, if the lumpiness doesn’t go away even after your periods are over, or it’s been quite a while you gave birth, you should reach out to a specialist.
Ideally, your breasts feel softer and the lumpiness goes away when the periods are over.
During self-examining, you should always observe the look and feel of any changes such as size, shape, or the feel of your breasts. Please note that most people naturally have one breast larger than the other, so it’s nothing to worry about.
Many specialists recommend noticing the following changes when self-examining your breasts:
Once you’re going to examine your breasts, make sure to do it in a comfortable, quiet and well-lit area. Many people prefer to self-examine when they’re in the bath or taking a shower. Always ensure to check the area near your breasts as well. It could be your armpits and the area above your breasts.
If you notice any change, immediately book an appointment to see a medical professional.
A clinical breast examination is performed by a trained medical professional who helps to recognize different abnormalities on your breasts. It is an in-office exam that individuals get it done, usually from their family doctor or gynaecologist.
During a clinical breast examination, the medical professional checks the appearance, size, or shape of your breasts. They examine to identify any type of rashes, dimpling or lumps forming on your breasts and help to detect the signs of breast cancer at a very early stage. It may be the best time to ask questions about breast cancer and awareness for early diagnosis.
A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray of your breasts that takes images to detect any chances of early stage breast cancer. Mammograms have proved to be quite effective in finding this cancer years before it shows any signs and symptoms.
However, experts recommend regular mammograms to individuals of 40 years of age and above. But you can always work with your healthcare professional to ask about the requirements based on your age and condition for mammogram screening.
3D mammography is the latest mammogram technology that takes breast cancer screening to a next level. It’s also called digital breast tomosynthesis that helps in producing clearer images compared to traditional mammogram screenings.
There are many studies conducted to find the effectiveness of 3D mammography over traditional mammograms. It is evidently proved that 3D mammography takes less follow-up imaging and has a high cancer detection rate. The 3D mammograms have been becoming quite common because of its functionality; however, it is not available at every medical facility. If you’re considering taking 3D mammography screening, it’s better to check your nearest hospital or labs for its availability.
Ultrasound screening uses sound waves to generate images of the inside of breasts. Such images help detect changes in breasts that are hard to identify in mammogram tests. It can accurately spot the difference in various growth and changes in the breast.
It’s an effective screening process compared to mammograms because it may be used to re-examine any spots that were seen on mammograms but cannot be fully identified. Ultrasounds are also quite useful for screening the dense breast tissues that sometimes may not be clear in images produced by mammograms.
A breast magnetic resonance imaging or MRI gives a clear image of the structures within the breasts. It uses powerful magnetic fields or radio waves to produce the detailed images. MRI is helpful in evaluating the extent of cancer following the diagnosis process or even identifying the abnormalities that are not clear in mammograms. That’s why specialists recommend breast MRI to individuals who are at severe risks for breast cancer.
MRIs can also detect abnormalities or lumps that aren’t cancerous, avoiding unnecessary tests and biopsies. Individuals with average risk of breast cancer usually don’t have to undergo breast MRI screening tests.
The next steps after undergoing screening for breast cancer entirely depends on the test results. There are no follow-ups required if your screening results come out fine and nothing gets detected.
However, if your screening results show some signs, the doctors may consider having a close look at the abnormality. You may have to go for advanced screening tests such as ultrasound or MRI as per your case. Your healthcare professional will then be able to tell you about its severity. In any case, you must be in constant touch with your doctor and do what he recommends. Otherwise, you can always consider second opinions from reputed hospitals and healthcare providers.
We know it feels scary and hopeless to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Therefore, we at Sai Snehdeep Hospital, recommend you to go through the different resources available to get aware about it. Always remember that early detection and diagnosis is a sure shot way to save your life. For that, we have created this post just for you. Also, if you or your loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, we recommend you to contact us about your treatment options.
We have professional experts specializing in breast cancer treatment who always make sure you get specialized care in a positive environment. We take great honour in helping our community be fit and achieve great health. To make appointments or get more information related to breast cancer and its awareness, reach out to us at:
Sai Snehdeep Hospital
Plot – 12, 13, Sector 20,
Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra – 400709
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