According to Breast Cancer India, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every four minutes. What makes this scenario graver is that every eight minutes, one woman succumbs to this deadly illness. (Source: http://cancerindia.org.in/cancer-statistics/)
Breast cancer sits at the top of the list of diseases that affect women, with a mortality rate of 12.7 per cent per 1,00,000. (Source: https://www.livemint.com/Science/UaNco9nvoxQtxjneDS4LoO/India-still-has-a-low-breast-cancer-survival-rate-of-66-st.html)
Breast cancer; thus, is fast plaguing the lives of so many women across the country. Moreover, what makes it worse is the fact that a majority of the population is still unaware of the implications and extent of breast cancer. This lack of awareness, in turn, leads to a delay in diagnosis and treatment; thereby, reducing survival chances even more.
To help you know more about breast cancer, here are a few things from our side.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breasts consist of different kinds of tissues such as ducts, lobes and lobules along with milk-producing glands. They also contain fatty tissues and lymph nodes. Breast cancer occurs when cells making up these different kinds of tissues mutate and grow out of control. This is what leads to tumour formation.
About 80 percent of breast cancers that occur are ductal carcinomas, meaning that they begin in milk ducts. Ten percent of cancers are lobular carcinomas and occur in milk glands or lobules, which produce milk.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer -
Just like the body drops hints in the case of any other illness, so is the case with breast cancer. The most common breast cancer symptom to watch out for is a lump in or a change in the mass or position of the breasts. Some other signs that may indicate the presence or development of tumour in your breasts are as follows-
1. Change in the nipples
2. Any discharge from the nipples
3. Change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling
4. Itching, irritation or pain in the breasts
5. Any redness, swelling or inflammation
6. Any change in skin pigmentation
7. Peeling off, or flaky skin
It has been reported that late detection of breast cancer reduces the survival rate of a patient by 3 to 17 times. This means that you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to even a minor symptom that may indicate the development of cancer in your breasts. Early detection will help you battle this disease in a much better manner, along with increasing your chances of getting cured.
Factors That Increase the Chances of having Breast Cancer -
The rising incidence of breast cancer can mainly be attributed to lifestyle habits practised these days. Some of the factors which increase the chances of breast cancer are as follows-
2. Heavy Drinking
3. Menstrual History
5. Being overweight
6. Exposure to light at night
7. Exposure to Chemicals in Cosmetics
8. Lack of Exercise or Physical Movement
9. Breast Density
10. Family history
11. Exposure to Harmful UV rays
Who Are at Risk of Having Breast Cancer?
It has been seen that Breast cancer is found more aggressively among the younger women in India as compared to their older counterparts. As per Breast Cancer India, 48% of the cancer patients presently fall below the age of 50 years. The report also throws light on how a large number of patients fall within the age bracket of 25 to 40 years.
Moreover, since breast cancer is also more aggressive in the younger population, it means that chances of survival or the duration of survival get affected adversely. This puts even more emphasis on getting yourself diagnosed starting from an early age itself so that you can at least have early detection, in case you have breast cancer.
(Image Credit: Shutterstock)
How to Prevent Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is caused by several factors that are well within your control. Lifestyle habits like lack of exercise, use of roll-ons, excessive drinking put you at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. So, to reduce your risk of becoming a victim to this deadly disease, it is advisable you follow these preventive measures-
1. Control your weight
2. Wear a padded light-coloured bra when moving out during the day to save your breasts from harmful UV rays
3. Breast Feed
4. Exercise for at least twenty minutes every day to increase blood circulation in the body, including the breasts
5. Reduce alcohol consumption
6. Maintain proper hygiene
7. Get yourself tested annually
Tests for Breast Cancer Diagnosis
If you find any breast cancer symptoms or want to get yourself tested out of self-care, then these are the tests you will be required to undergo-
1. Self-Examination: Once every few months, it’s good to assess your breasts by touching them properly. This will help you identify any abnormality, such as a lump or any pain that may be present.
2. Mammogram: This is an X-ray of breasts that shows any abnormality that maybe there, on a screen. If anything is identified, then your doctor will further recommend your diagnostic mammogram.
3. Biopsy: This is a definitive way to diagnose the presence of tumour cells in your breasts. This test is conducted by removing a sample of cells from your body, for finding out if they are malignant or not.
4. Breast Ultrasound: This test that uses sound waves to form images is mainly used by doctors to find out if the lump is a solid or fluidic cyst.
5. Breast MRI: MRI creates an image of the interiors of your breast by making use of magnetic and radio waves.
Stay Secured with Cancer Insurance
Given the increased risk of breast cancer specifically, and cancer in general, you should buy cancer insurance for your spouse and yourself. Cancer treatment can drain you not only emotionally and mentally but also financially. It can shake up your finances badly, leaving your family in a crisis. So, buying a cancer insurance plan will provide you with comprehensive protection against different stages of cancer by providing you with a payout. So, be aware, take preventive measures and safeguard yourself financially to build up your defence against this beast called cancer.