Breast Cancer is a kind of cancer that develops in the breast cells. It can happen due to various factors, like gender (females are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer), obesity, ageing, exposure to radiation, previous breast conditions, alcohol consumption and genetics.
Dear ladies, ILS Hospitals, the best hospital in Kolkata would like to bring forward preventive measures for breast cancer. But before we tell you the preventive tips for breast cancer, let’s know the symptoms of the same.
Swelling in the breast or breasts
Rashes and redness in the breast/s
Changes in breast anatomy
Changes in the nipples’ appearance
Pain in the breasts
Feeling of lumps or nodes in the breasts
Discharge from nipples.
Now, it’s time to know how to prevent and lower your chances of developing breast cancer.
1. Maintain a healthy BMI:
Being overweight or obese (especially after menopause) puts you at more risk of developing breast cancer. Excessive fat issues increase the estrogen levels which in turn makes you vulnerable to breast cancer. To prevent breast cancer, keep a healthy body weight or BMI (18.5-24.9).
2. Control your alcohol consumption:
As we all know, alcohol consumption is injurious to health. Did you know, alcohol is also a culprit behind breast cancer? Alcohol not only raises your estrogen levels but also damages the DNA in cells causing cancer. Avoid consumption of alcohol or at least minimize it.
3. Do physical activities:
If you live an inactive lifestyle, you invite several health issues. It has been found that women who did physical activities regularly had a lower risk of breast cancer. So, ditch the sedentary lifestyle and engage yourself in physical activities.
4. Stop smoking:
Despite numerous warnings on the cigarette packets, people still smoke. Apart from lung cancer and other serious health conditions, smoking is also responsible for causing breast cancer. Ladies, if you have this harmful habit, get rid of it today to protect yourself from breast cancer.
5. Self-examine your breasts:
Regular breast self-exam (once a month) should be encouraged as it helps early diagnosis of any abnormality. To perform a breast self-exam, stand in front of the mirror and observe your breasts. Check for redness, swelling, change in size and nipple discharge. It is always best to learn this self-diagnostic method from an expert gynaecologist.
Breast cancer is a leading cause of death among women all around the globe. The scenario is equally frightening in Indian as well. The detection of malignancy in the breasts happens in later stages in India, and that is why breast cancer treatment is not very effective for many women.
Timely screening can confirm whether or not it is a case of cancer and thereby, the suitable treatment can be pursued, if needed.
Gynecologists recommend that every woman above the age of 30 should pay attention to any changes that occur in their breasts. Let’s understand about one such crucial screening, the FNAC, in details.
What is FNAC?
FNAC stands for Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology. It is a diagnostic screening that can detect the malignancy in the breast tumor. It can also be used to aspirate a known cyst, by pricking and collecting fluid. It is done to remove the cyst completely or to relieve discomfort and pain that is quite common for large cysts.
How FNAC is carried out?
FNAC uses a thin needle to penetrate the breast tissue to reach the site of the tumor. The exact position of the cyst or tumor can be detected using ultrasonography and the needles are guided accordingly. It collects some cells or fluid as a sample. The sample collected is then sent to the laboratory to investigate its nature further.
This usually does not require any anesthesia, because even if the procedure requires pricking the breast with needles, the pain is bearable. However, it might require the same, if a solid system is concerned, which required multiple aspirations, in a single screening procedure.
How FNAC helps to detect breast cancer?
Prescribing an FNAC does NOT mean the doctor suspects breast cancer. In fact, mostly it is the opposite. Usually, when they come across any lump during a physical exam and suspect it to be a harmless, benign tumor, the first thing they recommend is the ultrasound and closely followed by FNAC.
The reason for recommending USG as foremost screening is simply to get the exact location of the lump. The FNAC test simply rules out the possibility of cancer. In case, it shows hints of malignancy, a biopsy is then recommended, which confirm the presence and type of malignancy.
So, why does the gynaecologist, does not recommend biopsy in the first go itself? Well, simply because FNAC is less invasive than a biopsy. A biopsy requires proper anesthesia as is a little more severe and sort of unnecessary for benign tumors.
What happens after FNAC confirms the nature of the tumor?
Well, if it shows malignancy, which is quite rare, the gynecologist is likely to refer the patient to an oncologist for advanced breast cancer treatment. In case its benign tumors, it can either be aspired to relived discomfort or left intact in the place (unless it projects any more trouble in the future) or it can be removed by surgery anyway.
For more information, if required it is wise to get in touch with a gynaecologist and discuss the possibilities.