Breast cancer is the top most diagnosed malignancy amongst women, especially in western industrialized countries. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s much more common in women. Risk factors for breast cancer are, female sex and older age. Genetic predisposition plays an important role and can lead to presentation of cases in as early as 30 to 40 year old women. Post menopausal women have a much greater chance of developing breast cancer even in the absence of genetic predisposition. Better diagnostic modalities, appropriate screening and targeted treatment has increased the survival rates and decreased morbidity substantially in patients with breast cancer. In this article, we are going to focus on, How to protect yourself against the menace of breast cancer.
DID YOU KNOW POINT
Did You Know? Pink ribbon is a symbol used to represent breast cancer for awareness purposes. It is commonly worn by famous people to increase awareness regarding this issue.
RISK FACTORS FOR BREAST CANCER
1.Age greater than 45
2.Positive family history of breast cancer, 1st or 2nd degree relative , both included.
4.Nulliparity , failure to breast feed a child beyond a year
5.Obesity, hypercholesterolemia and sedentary life style
6.Alcohol and smoking
8.Oral contraceptive use for prolonged time, hormone replacement therapy
9.Late menopause, after 55 years
10.Late menopause, after 55 years
11.Frequent lumps in breast not diagnosed as breast cancer
The question arises, How to protect yourself against the menace of breast cancer.
Screening and Prevention tools
2. Manual Breast Examination
3. Self Breast Examination
4. Avoid Risk Factors
5. Genetic Testing
6. Prophylactic Tamoxifen for those with positive family history
The purpose of mammography is to catch the breast cancer at an early stage by looking for
micro calcifications and abnormal developments that may require histopathology based confirmation by removing the suspicious lesion and eliminating the threat of breast cancer and avoiding the complications associated with it
Ideally, it should be done every 1 or 2 years after the age of 40.
Manual Breast Examination.
The mammography in conjunction with manual breast examination is much better than alone. The physician can correlate clinical findings with the
mammogram. It is superior to self examination of the breast.
Its easy and convenient method though its no longer considered as a reliable screening tool. In menstruating women, it should preferably be avoided during menses.
Post menopausal women and pregnant women can do it during any fixed date of the month.
Avoid Risk Factors
The risk factors mentioned above should be avoided. All modifiable risk factors, if worked upon can lead to a positive outcome. If you are obese and lead a sedentary lifestyle then its not only a risk factor for breast cancer but a number of other health conditions. Avoid oral contraceptives especially if you smoke or are above the age of 35. Stop drinking alcohol and smoking if you are doing so in the presence of the above risk factors as it can increase your chances of breast cancer, manifold.
Though the facility is not available everywhere, it should be availed if present. BRCA1,2 genes are associated with breast Ca. There is approximately 75 percent lifelong risk of breast cancer if one is positive for BRCA. Prophylactic mastectomy is sometimes offered. As a less invasive alternative, frequent screening can be advised.
In case of a very strong family history of breast cancer, involving multiple first degree relatives, prophylactic tamoxifen is offered as it decreases the incidence of breast cancer in those at highest risk. It can be given for up to 5 years for prevention.