How annual self-exams and mammograms can help prevent breast cancer

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Every year, World Cancer February 4 is the day to raise awareness about cancer and promote its prevention, detection and treatment.

According to experts, there are many types of cancer that, if detected early, can be cured with proper treatment and diet. One of those ways is breast cancer, the most common cancer that affects women, so it is necessary to take certain preventive measures.

Dr. Priya Tiwari, Senior Consultant and Medical Oncologist at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, said that sometimes patients do not reveal symptoms like lumps even to their spouse. “Due to the delay in seeking treatment, the cancer reaches a stage where it becomes very difficult to cure. breast cancer it often presents with lumps, but not all lumps may be cancerous. Other causes of lumps are fibroadenomas (benign growth of breast tissue), cyst formation, and fullness during periods. We recommend self-examination starting at age 20 and yearly mammography starting at age 45 for women,” she said.

According to a report by the National Cancer Registry Programme, released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Center for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR), Bangalore, cancer cases in the country are likely to rise to 15.7 lakhs by 2025, from 13.9 lakhs in 2020. Among women, breast cancers are estimated to contribute 2.0 lakhs (14.8 per cent) of the total cancer burden.

Lifestyle changes, late marriage, and older age at delivery are some of the factors that make the disease more common.

breast cancers They are curable if diagnosed early. “The best part of early diagnosis is that you don’t have to lose your breast. Today, breast-conserving surgery is part of the treatment process. Breast self-examination and screening are essential for early diagnosis of breast cancer and dispel myths surrounding the disease. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the chances of cure and survival,” said Dr. Jyoti Singh, Radiation Oncology Consultant, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.

Cancer cells can spread further in advanced stages (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

But if left untreated, the cancer cells can spread further, where multiple lumps can develop in the breast and armpit. Also, these cells can spread throughout the body. For example, if they enter the liver, patients may have pain in the right side of the abdomen and sometimes jaundice. It can also affect the bones, leading to multiple bone pains, doctors mention.

But the good news is that there are more and more options even for advanced-stage cancer. “We have more than one breast cancer trial. We have a trial of a very important drug called trastuzumabderuxtecan. We also have an oral Selective Estrogen Receptor Degrader (SERD) test for hormone replacement for breast cancer patients,” said Dr. Tiwari.

Dr. Tiwari suggested a healthy and nutritious diet for breast cancer patients. “You should not eat any food that makes you nauseated. Small, frequent meals are fine, and eat only if you are hungry. If you try to exert yourself, it could cause vomiting,” she mentioned.

Even if someone has been diagnosed with the disease or is undergoing treatment, staying positive is essential, says Dr. Tiwari. “Research has also shown that dining early can help reduce the chances of breast cancer. Increase intake of Fresh fruits and raw vegetables in your diet. Reduce consumption of processed meats, alcohol, and red meat, maintain proper body weight because obesity or being overweight increases risk,” she said.

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