It is difficult to explain why one woman gets Breast Cancer and another doesn’t. It is clear however that Breast Cancer is not contagious. It is not caused by bumping, bruising or touching the breast.
Although it is not known exactly why Breast Cancer develops, however few “Risk Factors” have been identified.
- Age: About 75 percent of all Breast Cancer are found in women over the age of 50. The disease is uncommon under the age of 30. It is quite rare under the age of 20.
- Family History: The Risk of getting Breast Cancer doubles for a women whose mother or
sister has had the disease.
3. Other Risk Factors Include.
– First child birth after years.
– First menstrual period at an early age/late menopause
WHAT CHANGES SHOULD I BE AWARE OF?
You need to be aware of any changes that are new or different for you, such as:
- a change in size it may be that one breast has become noticeably larger or noticeable lower
- a nipple has become inverted (pulled in) or changed its position or shape
- discharge from one or both nipples
- puckering or dimpling of the skin
- a swelling under your armpit of around your collarbone (where the lymph nodes are)
- a lump or thickening in your breast that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue.
- Constant pain in one part of your breast or in your armpit.
GUIDELINES FOR EARLY BREAST CANCER DETECTION
- Self Examination once a month after 20 years.
- Clinical examination by family physician once a year.
- X-Ray Mammography:
- Base line at the age of 35 years.
- Once in tow year after 40 years.
- Once in a year in “High Risk Woman” (i.e. Spinster, childless married woman, first child birth after 30 years, family history of breast cancer, obese woman.)
- Once in a year after 50 years.
BEING BREAST AWARE
Breast awareness is an important part of caring for your body. Being breast aware is about becoming familiar with your breasts and the way they change throughout your life. It means knowing how your breasts look and feel normally so that you feel confident about
noticing any change that might be unusual for you.
Get into the habit of looking at and feeling your breasts from time to time. There is no set way to do this, and you don’t have to look and feel at the same time. Some women do it when they are dressing or undressing, bathing or showering, or applying body lotion. Some women use a mirror, some don’t. You can decide what you are comfortable with and when it is convenient for your. One thing that is important is to feel all parts of the breast, from high up on the front of your chest, down and around into your armpit.
BREAST SELF-EXAMINATION (BSE)
Here is one way to do BSE:
- Stand before a mirror. Check both breasts for anything unusual. Look for a discharge from the nipples, puckering, dimpling or scaling of the skin.
The next two steps are done to check for any change in the shape or contour of your breasts. As you do them, you should feel your chest muscles tighter.
- Watching closely in the Mirror, clasp your hand behind your head and press your hands forward.
- Next, Press your hands firmly on your hips and bow slightly towards the mirror as you pull your shoulders and elbows forward.Some women do thenext part of the examination in the shower.
Your fingers will glide easily over soapy skin, so you can concentrate on feeling for changes inside the breast.
- Raise your left arm. Use three or four fingers of your right hand to feel your left breast firmly, carefully, and thoroughly. Beginning at the outer edge, press the flat part of your fingers in small circles, moving the circles slowly around the breast.
Gradually work towards the nipple. Be sure to cover the whole breast. Pay special attention to the area between the breast and the underarms, including lump or mass under the skin.
- Gently squeeze the nipple and look for a discharge. (If you have any discharge during the month – whether or not it is during BSE see your doctor). Repeat the examination on you right breast.
- Step 4 and 5 should be repeated lying down. Lie flat on your back, with your left arm over your head and a pillow or folded towel under your left shoulder. This position flattens the breast and makes it easier to check it. Use the same circular motion described above. Repeat on your right breast.