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September 05, 2009

Breast Cancer

It can happen to any woman, at any age. I've known women who had breast cancer in their teens and even in the nineties. A question that often comes up is - How shall I check whether I have suspicious symptoms?

In its early stages, breast cancer usually has no visible symptoms. As the tumor develops, one or more symptoms become apparent. Here's a checklist of eight warning signs.
  1. A lump in the breast or underarm. Often the first symptom noticed. These lumps are painless, but will not disappear. Lumps are usually visible on a mammogram long before they can be seen or felt.
  2. Swelling: Usually in the armpit. Sometimes in the neck.
  3. Pricking pain or tenderness in the breast can be a sign of cancer.  
  4. Flattening or indentation on the breast. 
  5. Change in the size, shape or 'feel' of the breast. A reddish skin like an orange.
  6. Nipple: indrawn or dimpled look, itching or burning sensation, ulceration or scaling.
  7. Discharge from the nipple, which is clear, bloody or another color. (It is not always due to cancer)  
  8. An area that is different from any other area on either breast. eg: a marble-like area under the skin. 
Medical Check-up
If any of the above eight signs persist, a medical check-up is strongly recommended. The standard medical diagnostics for breast cancer are
  • Physical examination by a qualified doctor (oncologist)
  • Mammogram  and MRI (radiology tests)
  • FNAC  (a needle inserted to take a sample for lab tests)
  • Biopsy (another method to take a sample for lab tests)
Which investigations are advised by the oncologist depends on the individual case.
Remember: Early detection and prompt treatment are the keys to recovery.

Some questions that a woman might ask: Am I at risk? Can I protect myself? What is the treatment for breast cancer? What are the chances of recovery? Is there life after cancer? To find answers, please click here.

1 comment:

more said...

Millions of women are affected with breast cancer all around the world. Breast cancer is growing like an epidemic and is predicted that 45,000 patients will die from breast cancer, this year. If you feel a solid lump in your breast, you must visit a specialist for consultation.

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