Cancer affects a female breast more often than a male breast. Every 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer in her lifetime as per the latest health survey.
Few facts about breast cancer:
- In early stages of development – the cancer is symptomless in most of the women.
- This cancer spreads to liver, lungs and bones in the body and difficult to manage in such situations and death rates are high in such unfortunate individuals.
- The cost of breast cancer treatment is very high.
What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer in women?
- Painful or painless lump in one of the breast that gradually increases in size.
- Nipple is abnormal in shape – at times retracted.
- Nipple discharge – sometimes blood stained serous or watery discharge
- Tiny nodes in the armpit or above collar bone.
Are there risk factors for developing breast cancer?
Certain unavoidable risk factors are observed –
- Age of a woman: a. Attaining menarche before 12 years age
- Having first child after 35 years age
- Attaining menopause after 55 years age.
- Family history of breast cancer
- Mutations in the genes – BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Hormone replacement therapy for early menopause
What are the Screening Tests?
Tests done to detect a disease before any symptoms develop are called Screening Tests.
For breast cancer screening-
- Examination of the breast by a specialist
- Mammogram – it is the x-ray of the breasts
- USG of breasts for – A cystic lump or those sometimes not picked up by mammogram
- MRI with contrast study
- Guided FNAC for suspected lump seen in the imaging studies
- Cytology of the nipple discharge if present
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