Breast cancer is the most common cancer in many cities in India and second most common in the rural areas. The incidence of breast cancer is increasing nowadays because of changing lifestyle.
Statistics of breast cancer in India for the year 2012 shows 144,937 women were newly diagnosed and 70,218 women died because of breast cancer.
Risk Factors of Breast Cancer
- A family history of breast cancer.
- Being obese.
- Alcohol, tobacco consumption.
- Early maturity and late menopause.
- Women who have never been pregnant and who have not breastfed.
- More exposure to radiation and chemicals like certain cosmetics, antiperspirants, personal care products.
- Unhealthy lifestyle.
- Overuse of oral contraceptives and other hormonal pills.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
- Abnormal or blood discharge through nipples.
- Lump or mass in the breast.
- Change in the size and shape of the breast.
- Change in the colour and appearance of skin over the breast.
- Inverted nipples.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
Prevention of Breast Cancer
- Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking.
- Reduce excess body weight.
- Eat healthy natural foods. Avoid artificial flavours, preservatives, canned foods, etc. Include whole grains, more fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid unnecessary exposure to chemicals and radiations.
- Minimise the use of chemical cosmetics and personal care products.
- Take medicines or pills only under your physician's guidance.
- Do regular physical exercise, yoga, meditation and pranayama.
- Breastfeeding is also a preventive measure.
Screening for Breast Cancer
If you are at risk for breast cancer, undergo regular screening.
- Self-breast examination- Examine your breast once in every month. If you notice any abnormal changes visit your doctor immediately.
- Undergo regular examination from your physician when you go for your annual health checkups.
- Mammogram – It is an X-ray of your breast tissue which aids in very early detection of cancer. If you are at risk of breast cancer and age above 40 years, you are recommended to undergo mammogram once in one or two years.