Breast health forms an integral part of women’s health. “Knowing what your breasts look and feel like can help you recognize when something is suddenly different,” says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women. “The same way you pay attention to your skin and watch for new moles, you should pay attention to your breasts. A woman should be familiar with her breasts. Self-assessment once a week is important to rule out any abnormalities.
What To Check In Self-Assessment
- Compare the shape, size, skin, and texture of both breasts.
- Look for any irregularities, lumps, swelling, or hard structure.
- Breast tenderness or area surrounding it.
- Redness, irritation, cracking of the skin around the nipples.
- Unusual discharge from the nipple, nipple retraction.
- Enlarged lymph nodes.
In addition to self-assessment, one should also undergo screening tests like mammograms annually. Presence of any such symptoms may be an alarming sign of Breast Cancer.
What To Do Next
If any of the above symptoms exist, it is better to consult a doctor immediately. Early detection of breast cancer yields a better prognosis. Treatment of cancer depends on the stage of cancer. Along with medication, it may consist of chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, and surgery.
It includes teletherapy, radiation therapy which uses X-rays and other high-energy waves to destroy cancer cells.
Medication: Medications include oestrogen modulators, chemotherapy, hormone-based chemotherapy.
Surgery includes removal of the tumour and area surrounding it. A surgical oncologist is a specialist for the removal of cancerous parts. Surgical options depend on the size of the tumour. The types of surgery for breast cancer are:
- Mastectomy (surgical removal of a part or complete breast).
- Lumpectomy (surgical excision of lump).
- Mammaplasty (plastic surgery for reconstruction of the breast).
- Tissue expansion.
- Lymph node dissection.
As such, there is no specific cause suggested for breast cancer. Several cases without involvement of a single-risk factor have been reported. A few common risk factors involved are:
- Inherited genes or family history of the disease.
- Previous radiation exposure.
- Late pregnancy.
- No pregnancy.
- Postmenopausal hormone therapy.
- Drinking alcohol.
7 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Breast:
Along with the self-assessment of the breast, follow these simple steps for a healthy breast:
- Be physically fit and active, maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Keep track of sudden increase or decrease of weight.
- Avoid excessive intake of alcohol.
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet.
- Breastfeed. Breastfeeding decreases the chances of breast cancer.
- Avoid post-menopausal hormones.
- ‘Yoga’- to destress, declutter and maintain emotional status.
If detected early, breast cancer can be defeated. Be a warrior. Plan your treatment journey wisely. A second opinion along with primary consultation matters a lot and adds to the better prognosis.