World Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women, accounting for 14% of all malignancies in Indian women. According to statistics, an Indian woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every four minutes. Breast cancer is becoming more prevalent in India, both rural and urban.

People, in today's age, need an intervention to get to know the disease and take preventive steps against it. Even though most cases of breast cancer are not preventable, studies suggest that almost 30% of breast cancer are preventable through changes in lifestyle and following healthy habits.

This Breast Cancer Awareness month (October), let us focus on raising awareness of breast cancer and ways to lower one's risk.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is identified by uncontrolled cell development, which results in the production of tumours within the breast. It is one of the curable cancers. It can be a life-threatening disease if not diagnosed early, as it can spread to other parts of the body.

Women in both developed and underdeveloped nations are impacted by breast cancer. Although it can occur at any age, women over the age of 40 are the most likely to experience it. In India, 25% to 31% of all malignancies in women are breast cancers. The average age of onset of breast cancer has also decreased significantly, from 50 to 70 years to 30 toImage50 years.

Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

There are several risk factors associated with breast cancer. These are the following:

  • Family History: Women whose mothers or sisters had breast cancer carry a higher risk of developing this disease.
  • Breast lumps: Women who have had some type of non-cancerous breast lumps.
  • Dense breast tissue: Women with dense breast tissue have a higher chance of developing breast cancer.
  • Age: The older you get, the higher the risk of breast cancer.
  • Diet and lifestyle choices: Women who smoke, eat a high-fat diet, or drink alcohol.
  • Radiation Exposure: Frequent exposure to X-Rays and CT scans.
  • Obesity: Overweight women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Oestrogen exposure: Women who started having periods earlier or entered menopause later than usual are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer as their bodies have been exposed to oestrogen for a longer duration.

Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

Detection of breast cancer early can help you cure the disease in due time. These are the warning signs of breast cancer you can look upon to detect breast cancer:

  • New lump in the breast/underarm (armpit)
  • Thickening or swelling
  • Irritation/dimpling of breast skin
  • Redness in the nipple area/ breast
  • Inverted nipple
  • Unusual nipple discharge, including blood
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast

These signs highlight the chances of breast cancer but can also indicate other conditions. If you find these symptoms troubling, consult your doctor and get tested.

Self Examination

A breast self-exam is a private examination of your breasts to look for changes and identify if you are at risk. You can use your hands and eyes to check the changes in your breasts' appearance and texture.

If you discover any new breast changes, consult your doctor. Though the majority of breast changes discovered during a self-exam are benign, certain changes may indicate something more serious, such as breast cancer.

The Need of the Hour

The need of the hour is breast examination awareness beginning at the age of 20 and regular screening by a skilled doctor so that it can be recognised early and successfully treated before it takes an uneventful turn.

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