Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022: Early symptoms of breast cancer and when to get tested to stay safe

Updated on Oct 15, 2022 05:51 PM IST

One woman every four minutes is diagnosed with breast cancer in India and one woman dies of breast cancer every thirteen minutes in India. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022, here are the early symptoms of breast cancer, when to get tested and all you need to know to stay safe!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022: Early symptoms of breast cancer and when to get tested to stay safe(Elina Fairytale)
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022: Early symptoms of breast cancer and when to get tested to stay safe(Elina Fairytale)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

India, surprisingly, witnesses one of the lowest survival rates due to late detection in breast cancer as mammography and ultrasound are taken lightly and the family of the patient avoids getting anything as such. Social stigma is the hindrance in getting the diagnosis as well as the treatment done hence, despite the advanced technology, it is unquestionable that we are still closer to social stigmas than practical knowledge of treating the human body better.

Do you know what is the simplest thing to do in order to detect breast cancer in its early stage? The patient has to notice if there is a presence of a lump in the breast or the underarm area but women resist doing so.

Breast cancer in India gets less or zero attention due to the social stigmas attached to female hygiene and health. One woman every four minutes is diagnosed with breast cancer in India and one woman dies of breast cancer every thirteen minutes in India.

Are there any factors leading to breast cancer? What are the early symptoms that can help diagnose the disease?

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Tanvi Sood, Consultant-Medical Oncology at Paras Hospitals in Gurugram, revealed, “Though it can be due to a lot of other reasons, there are a few factors that increase the risk of breast cancer: weight gain, absence of regular exercise, stress, and late work shifts. We have listed a few of the early symptoms that the patient might experience in case of the disease. These may or may not be applicable to everyone. Please ensure that you get in touch with your doctor before getting panicked.”

She advised, “Irrelevant of anything, notice your breast on a daily basis. In case there is a lump-like formation or your breast skin is dimpling and there is any irritation, these can be the symptoms. Also, you should notice your nipple area, there can be: pulling in of the nipple area, redness or flaky skin in that part and also nipple discharge other than breast milk (might contain blood). One can also notice that there is thickening, swelling, size change, and pain experienced in the breasts. The most important part here is these symptoms can happen with other conditions and can specifically not be cancer. Kindly get in touch with the nearest healthcare center or your doctor to diagnose and understand the issue.”

Regular breast cancer screening

Dr Tanvi Sood assured, “If a doctor recommends you to get in touch with a breast specialist or a surgeon, that does not mean you have the disease. It can be just to ensure you are safe when noticed with a few signs. These doctors are experts and have years of experience in dealing with breast issues and hence suggest to you the best thing to do at the moment.”

She highlighted, “Albeit, breast cancer shows a lot of symptoms in its early stages, this is not the condition for every woman. At times, the disease can appear out of thin air without any symptoms whatsoever. This is where regular breast cancer screening plays a significant role. Different tests are done to diagnose the disease. Mammograms, breast ultrasounds, breast MRIs, and biopsies are some of the tests to diagnose breast cancer.”

Dr Tanvi Sood shared, “In case you are tested with breast cancer, there are further tests done to check if the carcinogens or cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body and how adverse it is. This is called staging. Be it the presence of lymph nodes under the arm, or spread outside the breasts, such tests help in understanding the stage of the disease and what further steps can be taken. Whatsoever the case may be, panicking will not help and make it difficult for the patient to go through the procedures. Medical science has evolved over the years and nearly everything is possible these days. Understand the situation and stage of the disease to stay positive in a crisis.”

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