Breast cancer at an early stage by screening
Do you know that you can detect breast cancer at an early stage by screening?
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancer in women worldwide as per WHO data breast cancer accounts for 2.09 million cases and 627000 patients die of breast cancer annually all over the world.
In India, it is the most common cancer in women and 14% of all cancers in women is breast cancer.
There is no government-run program for breast cancer screening in India and as a female, you need to take your responsibility to undergo screening.
The screening tests help to detect cancer at a stage where the cancer is not causing any symptom and you are not aware that you have cancer. If a cancer is detected at this stage then treatment can cure breast cancer.
First, you should know whether you are on average or at higher risk of breast cancer. There are certain criteria if you fulfill any of these criteria then you are at a higher risk of breast cancer and you need to consult your doctor to plan your screening protocol.
You are at higher risk if –
You have a family history of breast cancer
You have genetic mutations like BRCA which increases the risk of breast cancer
You had chest radiation before age of 30 years.
If you are not at high risk then you need to follow the following guidelines for cancer screening –
You may choose to start screening at age of 40 years and undergo a mammogram every year till 45 years.
Women must undergo a mammogram every year from age of 45 to 54 years
A woman above 54 years can undergo mammogram alternate years. Continue screening till you are in good health and expect to live for more than 10 years.
Women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and should report any changes to a doctor but regular breast self-examination or by a doctor is not part of screening.
Dr. Rakesh Rai. MS, FRCS, MD, CCT, ASTS Fellow.