Breast cancer is a predominant cause of death among women. According to statistics, one in every eight women has breast cancer.
Understanding Breast Cancer
The female breasts consist of lobules (milk-producing glands), connective and fatty tissues, and ducts. Cancerous growths are most common in ducts but rare in tissues and lobules.
Risk factors for breast cancer include age (above 50), family history of breast cancer, gender (female), lifestyle-related behaviors (like obesity and smoking), pre-existing breast conditions, and genetics. Apart from lifestyle-related actions, women have control over the other risk factors.
Breast cancer screening relies on mammograms. A mammogram is a breast x-ray that helps to identify cancer growths as small as a rice grain. The growths are so small that even the doctor can’t feel them with bare hands. The machine presses against each breast for 10 seconds.
The Value of Breast Cancer Screening
Early detection of breast cancer increases the rate of survival for the patient. Mammograms are accepted worldwide as the standard for examining breast cancer. If the mammogram image is not clear, patients go for an ultrasound. According to research, women who screen regularly contribute to a 25% reduction in the annual breast cancer mortality rate.
Recommended screening guidelines:
- Ladies between 20 to 30 years should plan to visit a doctor for a clinical breast exam every three years.
- Breast examination should commence from the age of 20. The test allows women to understand how their breasts are changing as they grow. It makes it easy for them to identify any abnormal changes.
- Women aged above 40 should schedule annual mammograms even if they don’t have any symptoms.
Women with increased breast cancer risk should plan to have an MRI or mammogram annually.
Early detection ensures timely treatment. The tests take a few minutes.