25 October 2021
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women in India and across the world. Breast cancer occurs due to the abnormal growth of cells, thereby creating a mass of tissue called a tumour.
To raise awareness about the disease and reduce the stigma attached to it, October is celebrated as the Breast Cancer Awareness month worldwide. While an awareness talk was organized, the Fortis Tower has been illuminated in pink for the past few days as part of efforts to raise awareness on breast cancer.
Dr. Naval Bansal, Endocrine & Breast Cancer Surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, gave an insight into the causes, symptoms, precautions and treatment options to detect the disease at an early stage.
Dr Bansal said, “Breast cancer can be treated successfully if detected at an early stage. Getting diagnosed with breast cancer can be a frightening experience for any woman, but with the advancement in healthcare and medical facilities, one can beat this dreaded disease.”
Acquired and genetic factors make an individual more vulnerable to breast cancer. These include a family history of breast cancer, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and overweight, menarche – onset of periods at a younger age and menopause at an older age, lack of breastfeeding, getting pregnant at an older age or never conceiving, hormonal medicines including long-term contraceptive use or postmenopausal hormone therapy etc.
Change in breast shape or size, lump in the breast or armpit, nipple discharge, retraction of nipple or ulcer or redness over the breast. If cancer is in an advanced stage, the patient may experience difficulty in breathing, jaundice, pain in bones, loss of appetite or weight.
Early detection and diagnosis can help in treating breast cancer successfully. Breast self-examination every month and an annual mammography after the age of 40 years, maintaining a healthy body weight, regular exercise and a balanced diet can go a long way in keeping the disease at bay.
Breast cancer treatment usually includes multimodality care like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Partial breast removal with breast reconstruction is emerging as the standard treatment, especially in the early stages. New advancement in chemotherapy and radiation therapy have further improved the outcome of the treatment.