October month is considered Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. It has become the deadliest disease amongst women as half or no knowledge of cancer and ignorant behaviour regarding their health. It is therefore set as breast cancer awareness month to spread awareness regarding breast cancer, its symptoms, checkup-clinical as well as self checkups, treatment and prevention.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of breasts. Cancer can occur in females however, rarely can also be in males as well. It is a treatable disease with the help of a medical professional.
What are the signs of breast cancer?
A sharp stab or an ache or discomfort in the chest or breast is an early sign of breast cancer. Itching in the breasts can be a symptom of breast cancer especially when no ointment or medication will ease the itchiness.
Change in breast size and appearance suddenly. Change in nipple sensitivity or appearance if nipples have turned flattened, inverted or indented in shape it’s an early warning sign of breast cancer.
Discharge from nipples if you are not breastfeeding is also an early sign of breast cancer. The skin of the nipple changes into a crusty or scaly exterior.
Armpit swelling is also a warning sign of breast cancer do not take it easy to see your doctor.
How to diagnose breast cancer?
There are two ways of diagnosing breast cancer one method is to go to the clinic and examine yourself by Doctors under Mammography or X-ray. The second method is self examine.
How to self-diagnose breast cancer?
In the shower with the pads of your three middle fingers, check the entire breast and armpit area by pressing down with light, medium and firm pressure. Check both breasts each month if in case feeling lump, thickening, hardened knot or any other breast changes call your doctor immediately.
In front of the mirror visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides, next raise your arms high overhead.
Look for any changes, swelling, dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match- fee women breasts do, so look for dimpling, puckering or changes, particularly on one side.
When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently covering the entire breast area and armpit.
Use light, medium and firm pressure, squeeze the nipple, check for discharge and lump afterwards repeat steps for your left breast.
How to lower your breast cancer risk?
Keep a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Avoid drinking alcohol or limit the amount of alcohol you drink. If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills consult your doctor. Breastfeeding could also be beneficial in preventing the risk of breast cancer.
What is the treatment of breast cancer?
Breast cancer treatment depends on the stage of the disease and may include surgery, radiation treatment, chemotherapy or hormone therapy.
Early detection is always the key to saving a life. From past years breast cancer survival rate has increased and the number of deaths associated with this disease has also declined largely due to factors such as a better understanding of the disease, earlier detection and a new approach towards treatment.