As Report by Arjun Bisht
Cancerous growth can be detected almost at its very onset, says Col C.S. Pant as he reiterates the importance of breast cancer screening.
Breast cancer easily tops the list of the diseases most feared by women, but few of them do little more than talk about it. It’s hardly surprising then that most women diagnosedcna with breast cancer are already in the second or third stage of the disease, when treatment becomes more aggressive and they end up losing more breast tissue.
“Fear of getting diagnosed and sheer neglect of their own health prevents women from getting themselves screened from breast cancer,” says Dr (Col.) C S Pant, a well known radiologist, whose an atlas of breast imaging has just been published by jaypee(Rs 1,500).
A mammography can detect micro calcification in the breast at its very onset, making it the detection method of choice. “Detection in stage zero ( when the growth is contained to the duct) and stage one (when the growth is outside the duct but is less than 2 cms), treatment can almost insure full cure,’says Col Pant. Treatment becomes difficult if cancer has moved to stage two (when the tumor is 2-5 cms long, but hasn’t affect the lymph nodes), stage 3 (lymphatic nodes are positive, irrespective of tumor size) or cancer has spread to distance places), when survival rates plummet drastically.
Since breast cancer is hormone driven, its puts women who’ve attained early menarche, those who don’t conceive, have babies late in life or don’t nurse their babies at greater risk. “progesterone protects against breast cancer, and since more progesterone is produced during pregnancy and lactation, women who conceive nurse their babies are more protected than those who don’t, “says Col. Pant. perhaps explain why breast cancer has overtaken cervical cancer as the leading cancer among women in the metros of Delhi and Mumbai.
Self examination is the good way to detect changes in the breast, and Col. Pant says the best time to do its while bathing. “You should use the flat of your fingers to examine the breast at least once a month, but initially do it weekly for 10 successive weeks so that you understand the contours of your breast and notice any changes at once, “ he adds.
Don’t let fear of cancer keep you away from mammograms either. “only 5 percent tumors are cancerous, and painful growths are a welcome as they are seldom malignant, so get a diagnosis done instead of living in fear, “he adds
Keeping A Breast Of Cancer Detection
If breast cancer is detected in the initial stages(stage zero and stage one), treatment can also assure full cure. Here are some tips for timely cancer diagnosis:
Learn to self examine after the age of 20 years. Look for discharge, puckering, dimpling or scaling of the skin. Also, feel for unusual lump under the skin.
Family histories doubles the risk of breast cancer. Those with a family history should get a mammography done every year after the age of 35 years, while those with no family should do it every two years after 40 years.
Since risk also increases with age screen age of growths once a year after the age of 50.
Other risk factors include early onset of menarche (periods before the age of 11 years), conceiving after the age of 35, or not conceiving at all.
Only 4 to 5 percent tumors are malignant. Benign tumors are common than malignant (cancerous) ones so don’t be afraid to get a mamography done.