BREAST CANCER AWARENESS : What should you know, an easy guide.
What spurred me to write my next post on the blog was an interview by RJ Malvika with Mrs.Jayshree on Radio Indigo ( fm91.9). Mrs. Jayshree is a Breast Cancer Survivor and she was talking about her whole experience with the disease and its aftermath and how she coped with it.
Nice to hear her experience and am sure it will help other women too. But I thought that some issues needed to be emphasized more from the point of view of the disease process and the options. So this being a awareness month with special emphasis on Breast Cancer, i thought i need to try and compile certain aspects of the same.
I think the first aspect to be dealt with should be the awareness issue regarding breast cancer, then comes the issue of dealing with it , then the treatment options and of course the rehabilitative aspect.
Awareness regarding breast cancer though picking up, is still not reach the extent to which it should. Many reasons behind it and one of the main reasons in our context is the taboo behind talking about anything related to sex. As the breast is a sign of femininity and female sexuality any talk about it is taken as taboo and hence women also tend to shun away from seeking knowledge about the same. Education is the only way to improve awareness. We see many women with advanced stages of breast cancer because they were shy to seek treatment or talk to anyone.
The first thing that any women should know and realize is that breast cancer is another disease and as with any other disease the earlier it is detected the easier it is to handle. The most important person in this “ early detection” sequence is the woman herself. “ Self Breast Examination” is an easy,simple, quick, painless test that any woman can do at her convenience.
- Not every cancer can be found this way, but it is a critical step you can and should take for yourself.
- Many a times the reason a woman does not want to do a SBE is because she feels so many things and feels confused. The more you examine your breasts, the more you will learn about them and the easier it will become for you to tell if something unusual has occurred.
- Try to get in the habit of doing a breast self-examination once a month to familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel.
- Examine yourself several days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender. If you are no longer having periods, choose a day that’s easy to remember, such as the first or last day of the month.
- Don’t panic if you think you feel a lump. Most women have some lumps or lumpy areas in their breasts all the time. Eight out of ten breast lumps that are removed are benign, non-cancerous.
- What’s important is that you get to know the look and feel of YOUR breasts’ various quadrants. Has anything changed? Bring to the attention of your doctor any changes in your breasts that last longer than you monthly period cycle or are getting bigger with time.
- Studies show that regular breast self-exams, combined with an annual exam by a doctor, improves the chances of detecting cancer early.
How to do a Self Breast Examination?
I could also write about self breast examination but will only serve to increase the already 1,630,000 pages on breast examination which you get on doing a google search. I’d like to highlight a few pages one could visit to know more about it.
- Cancer patients Aid Association(CPAA) which has a lot of information and free download brochure
- DOCTOR NDTV which has an article on breast examination
- Breast Self Exam is another good site which will talk you through it
- The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has a online breast self examination module which is also available in Hindi
Here’s hoping this can spur some if not all women to start making self breast examination a part of their routine and help create more awareness regarding the same.
My subsequent blogs are going to be dealing with some of the surgical options for breast cancer and more importantly I will be touching upon the options for breast reconstruction which is a topic many of the breast cancer patients are not aware of or do no even consider.