Breast Cancer: A Very Real Danger
The risk of developing breast cancer exists for the entire lifetime of a woman. A recent study of breast cancer risk in Indian revealed that 1 in 28 women develop breast cancer during her lifetime. The incidences of breast cancer are on the rise, but due to lack of timely breast health checks, 2 out of every 3 cases are diagnosed in the later stages.
Signs of Breast Cancer
In order to improve the awareness of breast cancer and the chances of early detection, it is important to know the common signs and symptoms of this condition.Hard, painless lumps in the breast
- Lumps in the armpit
- Changes in the size and the skin of the breast
- Bloody or watery discharges from and other changes in the nipple
3-Step Approach for Early Detection of Breast Cancer
- Monthly Breast Self Examination (monthly), starting in the 20’s
- Yearly Clinical Breast Examination, starting in the 20’s
- Regular Mammogram (annually), starting at the age of 40 years
Breast Cancer Screening Device
Manipal Hospitals has unique equipment for early screening of breast cancer. Scientists have invented a low-cost, tactile sensor known as Piezoelectric Pressure Sensor, which is a handheld, point-of-care medical device. It operates on the principle that breast cancer tumours are stiffer than normal breast tissue and uses non-invasive techniques to measure the difference in stiffness based on measurable changes in the elastic modulus.
Advantages of the Breast Cancer Screening Device
- Painless & Radiation-free
- Operable by Community Health Workers
- Instant Results
- Clinically Effective
- Highly Affordable
- Usable at Point-of-Care
- Low-Power Consumption
- What is Mammography? How often should it be done?
Ans) It is a special X-ray of the breasts. It picks up cancers at a very early stage before they can be detected by a doctor.It should be done once a year or once in two years, starting from the age of 40-45 years. If there is a family history of breast cancer, then screening may need to be done more often.
- Is Mammography painful?
Ans) It is not painful, although it may result in a slight discomfort. For maximum comfort, it is recommended to schedule a mammogram after your monthly period.
- When should the self-examination of the breasts be done?
Ans) For young ladies, the best time to do it two or three days after the end of their period. For elderly women, it is advisable to do it on the same day every month.
- What are the risk factors of breast cancer?
Ans) The common risk factors are:
- Prior history of breast cancer
- Late childbearing ( 1st child after the age of 30 years)
- Prolonged use of HRT
- Early menarche (< 12 years)
- Late menopause (> 55 years)
- Family history of breast cancer
- What are some myths and the corresponding facts regarding breast cancer?
1) Myth: We know what causes breast cancer
Fact: The exact causes of breast cancer are unknown, although there are some well-recognized risk factors.
2) Myth: Family history is the most important risk factor for getting breast cancer.
Fact: The vast majority of women with breast cancer do not have a family history of breast cancer.
3) Myth: Breast self-examination is no different from breast awareness.
Fact: Breast self examination (BSE) is a regular & repetitive monthly self examination of the breast performed by a woman at the same time each month to a set method.