It’s time we talk about Breast Cancer
With Breast Cancer week around the corner, take a pause from the busy routine and ask yourself, “How much do I need to know about it?” This makes so much sense, as we are in the beginning of 21st Century, where Breast Cancer is prevalent, but the awareness for the same isn’t.
Breast Cancer, as we all know, is an invasive cancer of the breast, and has become one of the leading causes of cancer deaths for women across the world during the past century. There is no particular causative agent for this, but a marked change in lifestyle over the last few decades has rendered women more prone to it. Due to the advancement of technology and research in this field, the cancer is now detectable, but the lack of awareness about Breast Cancer among men and women makes it difficult for the technology to help one out of this.
For instance in third world countries like India, Mexico, Oceania etc., where education is barely accessible to the majority, the awareness for Breast Cancer is less talked about, more or so due to the stigma associated with it. Although, it is believed that urban women are more prone to this disease due to being exposed to more toxic substances on daily basis as compared to their rural counterparts, but one can’t say that the rural population does not need awareness about this at all. A major chunk of women that fall prey to Breast Cancer in India lie between the age group of 35 to 50 years. Truth be told, not just women, but men also fall prey to breast cancer, and the stigma is deeper for them.
The good news is that it is curable! Due to rigorous work going on in this field in many developed nations, Breast Cancer is no more fatal. Unlike the cancer of blood or lungs, this cancer can be surgically removed and separated from the body to cease any further damage that it can do, but the extent of damage can be categorized as “The stages of Cancer”, which all of us know little about.
There are five stages to breast cancer, namely zero to four:
Stage Zero: The non-invasive stage of Breast Cancer. The tumor in this stage is a handful of cells, and one cannot easily identify tumor in their breast by themselves. It is therefore recommended to undergo screening tests on a periodic basis to keep away from the risk of developing it any further.
Stage One: This is the invasive stage of Breast Cancer. The tumor here measures up to 2 cms and the cancer is still confined to the breast area. The cancer cells here, have just started to invade breast area.
Stage Two: The tumor ranges from 2 cm to 5 cms. Cancer has now become a lump that can be traced physically.
Stage Three: A tumor larger than 5 cms, that has now spread to the chest wall and the skin of the breast. At this stage, one would start to feel the physical discomfort of a tumor in the body.
Stage Four: The last stage of Breast Cancer. The cancer is now fully potent and can prove to be fatal. Cancer maybe at stage four during first diagnosis or revival of a previous Breast Cancer that might have gone undetected. At this stage, cancer has spread to other parts of the body as well.
So what can we do about it?
- It is high time we realize that anyone can fall prey to Breast Cancer. It is therefore advisable to undergo regular check-ups.
- Do not ignore, if you feel any kind of discomfort in your chest. The earlier you detect the problem, the easier it is to get rid of it.
- Go for a routine checkup for the entire body.
- Stand to face the mirror, with your hands on your hips, and look out for dimples, puckering, or bulging on the skin of the breast. Check if the nipples are at the right position, or have moved from their previous location, or has become inverted. Bring to the notice of doctor also in cases of redness, swelling, or rashes on your breast, if any.
- Raise your arms, and look for any signs of fluid oozing out of your breasts. Touch and look out for any inner lumps, or hard areas inside your breast. This could be a tumor and hence needs to be reported in case one spot it.
- Do this while lying down. Cover the entire area of your breast and around while looking out for tumors during this procedure. Feel your breasts while in standing and sitting position, and look for lumps.
Remember, cancer spreads slowly during the initial stages, and therefore you must take good precaution in case of even minor irregularities. We are nearing World Breast Cancer week, let us take a new step towards a more aware in India this year and also know the facts about Breast cancer.
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