- It is the most common cancer in Indian females. It arises from cells in the breast. 1 in 10 females are being diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
What are the risk factors?
- Risk factors of breast cancer can be divided into controllable and uncontrollable. Controllable risk factors are those which can be modified through lifestyle changes whereas uncontrollable risk factors cannot be modified.
- Older age at first childbirth/never having
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Positive family history
- Genetic predisposition
- History of radiation treatment to the chest wall
- Early menarche
- Late menopause
Breast cancer can be identified by following symptoms and signs. If you find any of these immediately consult a doctor.
- Lump in the breast or armpit
- Skin changes on the breast like dimpling, puckering, ulceration, orange peel appearance, non-healing ulcer
- Bloody nipple discharge
- Recent retraction of the nipple
- An abnormal change in the size or shape of the breast
How to detect early?
Breast cancer can be detected early through different screening methods. It can be cured if detected early.
Breast self-examination (BSE) – Every woman should know about her breast. BSE is a checkup every woman should do at home. It has to be done 5 days after your period starts. After menopause, it has to be done on the same day every month
How to do BSE –
Mammography- Every woman should get a yearly mammogram from age 40 until she is in good health.
Breast cancer can be prevented by lifestyle changes like weight reduction, regular physical exercise, giving birth to children at an appropriate age, breastfeeding, avoiding alcohol, and healthy dietary habits like having a balanced diet, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Dr. Praveena Voonna,
Consultant Medical Oncologist,
Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, Visakhapatnam.