- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in
women who do not smoke. It is malignant neoplasm of the breast .It is
estimated that one women in nine will develop breast cancer in her lifetime
and will have 3.5% chance dying from it.
How can we Diagnose breast cancer?
About 90% of the cases of breast cancer are discovered by breast self examination by patient them self. Screening is the method of diagnosing cancer at early stages before it produce any signs or symptoms
which reduce the mortality by 50%.Positive diagnosis can be made by obtaining tissue for microscopic examination. The American cancer society recommends that all women should perform breast self examination monthly.
In addition women from 20-40 years ages should visit the clinician every 3 years and women above 40 years every years. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age.
Breast Self Examination:
1. Observe for symmetry, lumps, dimpling, nipple discharge or failure of nipple
2. Gently squeeze nipple and observe for secretion and nipple erection after
nipple is gently stimulated.
3. While leaning forward observe breast as they are reflected in mirror to
irregularities, retracted areas especially one side only.
4. Feel for nodes irregularities and tenderness both in breast and axillaries
Symptoms of breast cancer
What other disease you should consider?
There are several other diseases which may also gives same symptoms and signs as breast cancer. So these disease can be excluded by obtaining a tissue biopsy of the site. Some other disease to consider are:
Mammary dysplasia(cystic disease of the breast)
Risk factors of Breast cancer
Breast is the most common site of cancer in women and accounts for second cause of death in women, first being lung cancer. Some risk factors of breast cancer are followings:
1.The most important being dietary factors especially high fat content (eg. red meat which have high saturated
fat and protein content)
2.Women with previous cancer of uterine
3.It is more common in whites than non whites
4.Early menarche( less than 12 years) and late natural menopause( greater than 50 years are at high risk.
5.Late menarche and artificial menopause are at lower risk.
6.Women who had cancer of one breast is high risk of developing the other.
7.There is some evidence that administration of oestrogen to post menopausal women has slightly increase risk of cancer
but with higher dose and long term use.
Picture © Yongjiet