Breast Care and Awareness
Breast problems are the most common health concerns among women and can affect women at any age. In women, the development of breasts usually begins around puberty and they may undergo various changes throughout the life cycle, especially during menstrual periods, pregnancy, lactation and advancing age. Other than the normal physiological changes, the breast may also undergo a few other changes that may be a cause of anxiety among women.
Breast checks include self-examination, clinical examinations and the use of diagnostic devices. It has been proven that breast examinations are essential for early detection of breast cancer and are also useful for breast cancer prevention. Women over 40 years of age are predisposed to breast cancer. Increased breast awareness is a very effective tool for early detection and prevention of breast cancer.
In breast self-examination, a woman checks her own breasts to identify any abnormalities or unusual changes. It includes observation and physical examinations of the breast. Breast self-examination is easy, free, and can be performed easily at home. Always inform your doctor about any change in the appearance of your breasts or any related abnormality. Breasts may swell and become tender at different stages of your menstrual cycle, so plan the breast self-examination at a convenient time every month to avoid discomfort.
Clinical Breast Examination
This method of breast check is performed by a physician to identify any unusual changes in the breast or presence of any lumps. It involves a careful physical examination of the breast that helps in detecting any abnormality and to devise an appropriate treatment plan.
This diagnostic procedure is often used to confirm the examination finding, as well as to evaluate any abnormalities detected during breast self-examination, clinical examination or on mammography.
Mammograms are one of the most effective diagnostic tools for identifying breast cancer. They detect the changes of the underlying soft tissue and assess the depth and cause of the pathological condition. The benefits of the mammogram include early detection of breast changes through high quality images which provide a clear picture of the involved tissue and help detect all types of lumps. Regular mammogram screenings, in women over 40 years of age, significantly reduce the mortality from breast cancer.
A breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a diagnostic test used to detect breast cancer or other breast abnormalities. Multiple images of the breasts are produced and may be combined to create detailed images.
Breast biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of breast tissue containing suspicious breast growth is removed and examined in the laboratory for the presence of cancer. It is indicated when abnormal findings are seen during mammography, ultrasound or MRI scans, or unusual changes are noticed in the nipple (dimpling skin, scaling or bloody discharge) or breast tissue (thickening or lumps).