When was the last time you went to see your gynaecologist? Or the last time you went for a breast exam? I’m pretty sure the answer (for a lot of you) is going to be that you probably have never gone for a breast exam or even thought of visiting a gynaecologist.
A routine check-up probably sounds like an extravagant and unnecessary effort because we feel fine right now. Well then you should also know that breast cancer ranks as the number one cancer among Indian females, and the main reason for low survival rates of breast cancer in Indian woman can be contributed to the low level of awareness about the cancer and its treatment.
Why is it that most cases of Breast cancer in India are diagnosed at the 3rd or 4th stage? It’s because we keep our health as the lowest priority and even if there a little discomfort, we have learnt to ride through the pain with the training we get from our monthly period cramps. According to the Union health ministry, at least 17, 97,900 women in India may have breast cancer by 2020.
The numbers are scary but not undefeatable. Catching it early, increases chances of survival and living a healthy life. Anything can seem scary if you don’t understand it. So let’s get some perspective on what the different ways are of identifying this cancer.
A screening test tries to find disease in healthy people with no symptoms. If one doesn’t find a lump and there is no family history of breast cancer, it doesn’t mean that you are fine. 3/4th of women with breast cancer have no risk factors.
Either you can do a self-examination which is a good way to keep a track on how your breasts are changing but there are other ways to do a breast exam to.
After a breast self-examination, Ultrasound is the next best tool to evaluate breast lump in a woman less than 30 years.
Ultrasound of breasts complements other tests and tells whether abnormality is solid like
Mammograms are difficult as breasts are dense and full of milk producing glands.
Mammograms are the most powerful breast cancer detection tools.
You can find below the difference between screening and diagnostic mammography.
1. Done routinely
1. Not routine
2. As Needed
3. With no signs of Malignancy
3. Symptoms as breast pains, lump, discharge from nipple.
4. Family history of Breast Cancer.
4. Personal history of Breast Cancer.
5. Fibrocystic breast disease
5. History of Breast implants.
6. Mammogram can still miss 10% of Breast Cancer.
Share this with the ladies in your life and ask them to not postpone their breast exam any longer. Their health is their wealth.