Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women in India, and in 2015 we expect 1.5 lac new breast cancers to be diagnosed. It is estimated that 1 in 25 Indian women may suffer from breast cancer during her lifetime.
With the annual number of cases increasing 1-2% each year, ladies need to all keep abreast with their breast health. Here are some simple useful facts and tips on risk reduction and early detection.
THERE IS NO VACCINE FOR COMPLETE PREVENTION, BUT YOU CAN LOWER YOUR RISK
1) Regular exercise can help decrease breast cancer risk by 20-40%.
2) Fruit and vegetable rich diets with low-fat content help lower risk.
3) Breastfeeding not only helps the baby but also lowers breast cancer risk in the mother
1)Smoking and Alcohol: even moderate consumption of one drink a day increases breast cancer risk, as does active and passive smoking.
2) Hormone Replacement therapy use for menopause symptoms like hot flashes and mood changes should be minimized or avoided.
3)Obesity even as a child, as well as after menopause is a known breast cancer risk
EARLY DETECTION HELPS SUCCESSFUL CURES, SO BE BREAST AWARE
1) Monthly Self Breast Exam: Examine your breasts in the mirror and understand what is normal so that any new findings can be brought to your doctor’s attention.
2) Annual Clinical Exam: After age 30, have a doctor do a physical breast exam once a year.
3) Mammography: After the age of 50, undergo a mammogram once a year so that small cancers can be picked up before you feel a lump.
1) Neglect a lump or Try to diagnose yourself at home: Be aware that most cancers are painless. All breast complaints should be evaluated by a specialist.
2) Be misguided by anecdotes: Cancer treatments have gotten more effective, more personalized and minimally invasive but should be undertaken only under the guidance of trained oncologists.
3) Lose hope: Most breast cancers can be successfully cured when diagnosed early and treated appropriately. Most of those who fight it will beat it.
This article is contributed by Pranjali V Gadgil, MBBS ABS (American Board of Surgery) Certified Surgeon & Fellow in Breast diseases (USA), Breast Surgeon, Jehangir Hospital & Prime Surgical Centers, Pune, India