In India, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 4 minutes and at every 8th minute a woman passes away due to the same. This can be avoided if it is detected at early stages. Breast cancer accounts for almost 25-30% of female cancers in India. The month of October is dedicated to spread awareness about the importance of early detection, and increase attention and pillar awareness of breast cancer.
Significance of Raising Awareness
Although breast cancer can not be prevented, the mortality rate that comes with breast cancer can be reduced if proper treatment is given at the right time and spreading awareness becomes crucial in such cases. India being a young nation, is seeing a rise in the number of breast cancer cases amongst women who are aged 30-50. Most women think that breast cancer is only hereditary and cannot affect them if it does not run in the genes. This is the biggest conception when it comes to breast cancer and hence, spreading awareness can help women identify whether they are at risk or not.
When to Get It Checked
There are two ways you can detect the risk of breast cancer. One is breast self examination and other being a screening test, which is mostly mammography. Any unusual occurrence of lumps or density means you need to further investigate with the concerned doctor.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
- Swelling of either or both breasts
- Irritated skin or dimpling (forms of dimples)
- Unexplained breast or nipple pain
- Discharge apart from breast milk
- Dense breasts
- Scaling or redness of skin around the breast or nipples
Breast self examination (BSE)
This examination can be done at home if you are feeling too shy to consult a doctor first
- Place your right hand on the hip. Use your left hand to feel the area around right armpit. Repeat the same on other side
- If you feel a lump, or any abnormalities in your breasts, you should go for a consultation.
- This examination should be done every month by a woman to familiarize with her breast and detect any irregularities.
- Do not panic if you find a lump in your breasts. It is not a clear indicator, and cold be benign (not cancerous). Always consult a doctor in such cases
- Ideal age for a woman to start BSE is 20, and should be done at least once a month
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Mammography is usually advised by a doctor after the woman has crossed the age of 40 as a yearly inspection. A mammogram is used to detect breast cancer using an x-ray and is vital for early diagnosis of breast cancer.
Hearing the news of having breast cancer can be very overwhelming for that person. They could be feeling sad, angry, fear, depression and loss of identity. In such situation giving the right kind of emotional support can go a long way and help them prepare for the battle ahead. Here are a few things you can follow if you are unsure of how to go about it.
- Let them express their feelings without any judgements or advice
- Don’t be afraid of them crying or being vulnerable
- Be a good listener and try to understand what they are going through
- If they are angry, they could channel their frustration on you. It could be hurtful but try not to react in the same manner.
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