Did you know that Breast cancer is one of the most frequently occurring cancers affecting women worldwide with more than 2.2 million cases in 2020 (Source: WHO). What is good to know is that with early detection, there is a considerably high survival rate (the survival rate in the initial stages of breast cancer is almost 100%).
Myths Vs Facts about Breast cancer
Besides being the leading cause of cancer that affects women, there are a lot of myths associated with it. Debunking common myths might give way to better clarity about the nature of cancer.
Treatment of breast cancer
Breast cancer is treated based on the type and how far it has spread. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormonal therapy. New research in breast cancer treatment by the University of Adelaide has shown that androgens (male sex hormones) could be a potential treatment for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer ( that uses estrogen to grow). A new drug effective against Pancreatic cancer is also showing some promise with triple-negative breast cancer.
A routine breast self-exam (BSE) would be of considerable advantage for prompt detection of the disease. This can be done in the comfort of your home BSE to check for breast lump or any other abnormalities. An annual physical exam by a medical professional and an X-ray of the breast, called a mammogram can be useful in screening and early detection of breast cancer.
What is the right time to do a BSE?
Perform the breast self-exam at the same time every month.
Why? Normally, hormone fluctuations occur in the body and this directly affects the breast tissue. To know the difference between a normal and abnormal breast tissue, it is better to perform the BSE during the same time of the month.Use circular motions to identify any change in the breast or the feeling of a lump. Also, lie down and perform the self-exam the same day. The step-by-step procedure can be found here.
o Premenopausal women – Do the test at the end of the menstrual period when hormones have the least influence on breast tissue
o Postmenopausal women – Maintain consistency by performing the test on the same day of every month
Check out a novel way to do a breast cancer screening here
While the BSE can be done every month, there are certain recommendations for regular screening by mammogram (X-ray of the breast). The American Cancer Society recommends women aged 55 years and above to get their mammograms done every two years and women aged between 40 to 54 years old to get screened annually. It is important to have a record of the screening tests that are done periodically.
*Please consult a medical professional if you have any questions or need further advice*
For more information on how to conduct a BSE- https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam
To book an at-home breast cancer screening please head to this link.
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About the author
Niranjana S. Rajalakshmi is a veterinary microbiologist turned science journalist, currently based in India. After her under graduation in Veterinary Medicine, she was curious to study diseases at a molecular level which led her to pursue a Master’s in Veterinary Microbiology. When the pandemic struck, she being a microbiologist felt the need to communicate about the hitherto unknown virus and its possible implications to a large audience. Subsequently, she produced several pieces on COVID-19 and other topics related to health, which are being published in leading news outlets in India.