Breast Cancer Symptoms in women
I have known her closely. She would love to laugh and make merry, the carefree kinds. Yet one day, what she loved the most about herself, her hair began to leave her by one, then many. In front of the mirror, she would sit hoping for her long tresses to come back and make her feel herself again.
This is the tale of a woman who fights breast cancer with a smile with faith that’s invincible. It broke my heart when I first heard from my close friend that her mother was screened with breast cancer. Ever since, I have seen three incidents around myself and to experience even close to what these women do, is inexplicable. With this breast cancer awareness month I really wanted to share how women can overlook the very small breast cancer symptoms.
There hasn’t been a latest study but the recent statistics shows that in India, Breast Cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed every year. Out of every 8 woman diagnosed, one is dying due to late detection of the tumor. According to a recent statistical research, about 25 years back, out of every 100 breast cancer patients, 2% were found in 20 to 30 years age group and 7% were in 30 to 40. 69% of the patients were above 50 years of age. In the current scenario, 4% are in 20 to 30 yrs age group, 16% are in 30 to 40, 28% are in 40 to 50 age group. So, almost 48% patients are below 50. This is an alarming trend which is seen among young women as the increasing numbers of patients are in the 25 to 40 years of age. Possibly one major reason is India’s population pyramid which has the largest chunk of youth in the bottom, narrowing upwards to the older population.
Breast cancer symptoms are widely detected in the urban cities and is about the second most common in the rural areas. Looking at the survival rates of the breast cancer patients, there isn’t any defined research as such, but comparing United States and India, in every 100 patients about 89% survive in the US while its only 60% approximately in India. The root cause behind such a low percentage could be unawareness of breast cancer symptoms. And in many cases breast cancer symptoms are found heredity.
Why October is the breast cancer awareness month?
A month when the world goes pink to spread awareness about this deadly disease, in India, women need to know about the early breast cancer symptoms. Most women are screened either at the third or the fourth stages that reduces the overall survival rate despite aggressive medications. Because I know women who are close and have been always taking precautions themselves, I could never miss one day on checking my breasts. Let’s first discuss how to discover the early breast cancer symptoms:
- You feel a sudden change in the size or shape of your breasts. This happens just before periods too, and some people naturally have fuller and tender breasts. But a sudden change might seem unusual.
- If you feel a lump or unnatural thickening that you have never felt before and is different from the breast tissue.
- A strange redness or a rash on the skin and/or around the nipple (areola).
- The texture of your breast’s skin feels different. Maybe something like puckering or dimpling (like orange peel).
- Discharge (liquid) from the nipple without squeezing.
- Inverted or pulled in nipple or a visible change in its position or shape.
- Swelling around your collarbone or armpit.
- A constant pain in your breast or your armpit. During periods the breasts become tender and might pain as well. But if your armpit does, then get yourselves checked at once.
Taking precautionary measures
Most of us at least know one case of breast cancer and that should make all women even more cautious about their well-being. Here is how you can always know whether you have breast cancer or anything benign:
- Have a habit of checking your breasts. Whether you’re in the shower, applying body lotion or getting dressed, when you do it every day you will know about your breasts abnormality instantly.
- Check around and under your breast and around your armpits.
- Wear the right size of bra always.
- Get a mammogram in every two years. Speak to your general practitioner about what is the right age to start getting mammograms.
- No body knows your body better than you do, so take care of it.
Those who are going through this or have survived breast cancer, you ladies are courageous and you all will get out of it like a boss. And those ladies who understand how important it is to take care of themselves must not only help themselves but spread a word to women around about how one can detect the early signs. Let the world be once free of all kinds of breast cancer symptoms.