Important things to know about Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is leading its way to become no 1 disease among women.. The statistics says it all…

In India, for the year 2012,

  • 144,937 women were newly detected with breast cancer
  • 70,218 women died of breast cancer

In India, for every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one lady succumbs to the disease.



You can see from the data from Globocan 2008 & Globocan 2012 that shows the complete change in the trend. You can see in the pie chart that Breast cancer has taken over cervical cancer in the last 5 years.The  bar chart reflects the common cancers in males and females in India for the year 2012 which also indicates that breast cancer tops the list for females.

Different symptoms of breast cancer

  • A lump or a mass
  • Swelling  of a breast (even if no lump is felt)
  • Skin irritation
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction (when the nipple turns inward)
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk.

Sometimes breast cancer can spread to underarm lymph nodes and cause a lump or swelling there, even before a tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt. If any such symptoms you experience, please talk to your clinician.

Who are at risk of developing Breast Cancer?

 All women are at a risk of developing breast cancer but there are some factors that may increase the chance of developing the disease.

  • Older women over the age of 50%
  • Mothers who do not breast feed
  • Having a family medical history of breast cancer.
  • Having certain gene mutations such as BRCA 1 or BRCA 2
  • Having been exposed to radiation in the past.
  • Taking hormone replacement therapy for an extended period of time.

Even if the women has one or more of these risk factors, it is not compulsory that she may develop breast cancer.

Also if the women do not have any of the risk factors that does not mean that she will not develop breast cancer. This is why screening is important for all women.

Screening tests for Breast cancer:-

There are three main tests to screen the breasts for breast cancer.

  • Mammogram– A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray of the breast. Women ages 50 to 74 years old should have a screening mammogram every two years. If the clinician feels that the woman is at high risk, then he may advice her to do the test on a regular basis. Regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.
  • Clinical breast exam – A clinician uses her hands to feel the lumps or other changes in the breast or underarm.
  • Breast self-exam – A breast self-exam is when women check their own breasts for lumps, changes in size or shape of the breast, or any other changes in the breasts or underarm.

Guidelines suggest that the best way to find breast cancer is with a mammogram. So Women who experience any of the above symptoms should go for the screening of the breast with mammogram.


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