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Breast Cancer: Early Detection Saves Lives

Verified By Apollo General Physician October 31, 2023 1934 0
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Apollo Hospitals’ Analysis of Around 150,000 Screenings Reveals Breast Cancer Strikes Indian Women 10 Years Earlier.

Overview

Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October serves as a reminder for women to prioritize their health. Breast cancer, the most common cancer in women worldwide, affects millions of lives annually. In India, breast cancer affects women a decade earlier than in Western countries.

Understanding breast cancer, recognizing its symptoms, knowing the causes, and adopting preventive measures are crucial for women of all age groups. In addition, early detection is the key to overcoming this challenge.

This article emphasizes the need for women to start breast cancer screenings early and explore the various screening modalities available, enabling them to take charge of their health and well-being.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a prevalent disease that affects millions of lives globally. It starts in the breast cells and can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. Symptoms include lumps in the breast, changes in breast size or shape, nipple discharge, skin changes and, in a few cases, pain.

Understanding the Risk

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Indian women. While the exact cause of breast cancer remains unknown, factors such as genetics, hormones, age, family history, and radiation exposure can increase the risk.

Insights from Apollo Hospitals’ analysis of around 1,50,000 screenings over the last five years reveals that Breast Cancer occurs 10 years earlier in Indian women than in their Western counterparts. This emphasizes the urgency of initiating preventive measures and regular screenings from an early age. The analysis also underlines the importance of early detection, serving as a critical reminder for Indian women to start breast cancer screenings early and explore the various screening modalities available.

Prevention of Breast Cancer

While some risk factors like age and genetics cannot be controlled, adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce risk. Important preventive measures include:

  1. Regular Exercise: Engage in physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week.
  2. Healthy (balanced) Diet: Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  3. Limit Alcohol: Limit alcohol intake, as excessive consumption can increase the risk.
  4. Avoid Smoking: Quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
  5. Breastfeed: If possible, breastfeed your children, as it can lower the risk.

Early Detection and Screening

Early detection is key to successfully overcoming breast cancer. Detecting cancer  in the early stages significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and recovery.

  1. Regular breast self-exams:

Starting from the age of 20, women should perform breast self-exams monthly to detect any changes, including lumps, skin alterations, or discharge.

2. Clinical breast exams:

  • From the age of 30, annual clinical breast exams by a doctor or trained healthcare professional are recommended.
  • For those under 40, a combination of tests, including clinical exams and ultrasounds, is advisable. Yearly doctor visits ensure a personalized breast health screening plan, potentially incorporating mammograms and MRIs based on individual risk factors.
  • Mammograms:

An annual mammogram is mandatory starting from the age of 40.

Family History and Genetic Testing

Family history plays a significant role in breast cancer risk assessment. By the age of 25, compiling a comprehensive family health history becomes crucial. Genetic testing, especially BRCA1/BRCA2 testing, is invaluable for individuals with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. High-risk individuals should consider genetic testing as early as age 25.

Take proactive steps so that you can detect breast cancer early

Did you know that regular preventive health checks can make a world of difference in safeguarding your health and identifying cancers early enough to ensure a favourable outcome? Apollo’s ProHealth Program is an innovative, proactive approach that combines predictive risk analysis, doctor-curated health packages, state-of-the-art diagnostics, expert evaluation, and a personalized wellness plan – all designed to help you stay healthy.

Conclusion

Breast cancer does not discriminate; it can affect anyone, regardless of age. By understanding the symptoms, taking preventive measures, and embracing early detection through regular screenings and self-exams, women can significantly improve their chances of early diagnosis and successful treatment. Empowerment comes through knowledge and action. Let’s stand together, raise awareness, and prioritize our health. Early detection saves lives, making breast cancer screening in your 30s a proactive and empowering choice.

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