Breast cancer is now emerging as one of the leading causes of death in women. Unfortunately, we do not have any vaccines to prevent breast cancer. The lumps may be painless, so patients may delay the visit to the doctor. A breast lump may be benign (simple or innocent) or malignant (cancer).
Early Detection Is the Key:
- It can show up as lumps or swelling, skin changes over the breast, nipple changes, and discharge from nipples.
- We advise all women particularly after age 30 to examine themselves once a month after their periods are over.
Mammogram Test to Ascertain Breast Cancer:
- A mammogram is an X-ray test for the breast which we advise for women aged 40 and more. It can pick up abnormalities not felt by the examining hand. It is commonly perceived as a painful test, but it is only mildly uncomfortable.
- This discomfort can be further minimized by taking the test after the periods are over when the breasts are soft and supple (Before periods due to hormonal changes breasts can be tender to touch).
- For women less than age 35, a mammogram is done by ultrasound scan when we suspect a problem.
- In women with a family history of cancers, breast cancer screening has to be done even earlier. Familial breast cancer constitutes only 10 % of all breast cancers.
Breastfeeding has been found to be protective against breast cancer in nursing mothers.
If you find any breast lump, nipple change or discharge, please consult your gynecologist immediately.