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Breast Cancer - Commonly Asked Questions You Must Be Aware Of!

Written and reviewed by
MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - General Surgery
Oncologist, Pune  •  37 years experience
Breast Cancer - Commonly Asked Questions You Must Be Aware Of!

Breast Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women. In US, it is the second most common cancer to affect women, the first one being skin cancer. The disease has been such a dreadful one that the first thing which crops up on the minds of those diagnosed with the same, is whether they would survive. Nowadays, medical science has made such rapid progress in diagnosing the disease and then coming up with various treatment options, that ones who are diagnosed with cancer have high chances of survival as compared to those, who had to bear the brunt of the dreaded disease and lose their battles due to lack of advanced medical treatment.

Now, we take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions on breast cancer:
1. Which age group of women is most likely to get breast cancer?
Breast Cancer most often occurs in women who are above 40 years and risk tends to increase with age. There are certain risk factors, some of which can be controlled, which are related to lifestyle, environment, diet, while some factors cannot be controlled, top of which is age.

2. What are the signs and symptoms?
Outward signs of breast cancer are very rare. In case any outward sign does occur, the most probable ones include a lump, area around the nipple having a thickened feeling or skin around the nipple having rashes. Still, even if you come across these signs, they don’t always necessarily mean you have breast cancer, so it is always advisable to consult a doctor as and when you come across these signs.

3. Can breast cancer be prevented?
Unfortunately there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer but precautions on the part of women can definitely reduce the risk of getting engulfed by the disease. Lifestyle and environmental factors play huge role in influencing cancerous cells within a person’s body. So, maintaining healthy lifestyle and staying away from alcohol and fatty, spicy foods would go a long way in ensuring that you do not invite the risk of cancer.

4. How often should I do a breast self exam?
Breast Self Exam should be done at least once a month. You can look for any changes in the tissue, changes related to size, shape or a feeling of lump, inversion of nipple, reddish tinge on the breast skin.

5. Is breast cancer inherited?
All kinds of cancers involved changes in a person’s genes. If a woman’s mother, sister or daughter had suffered from cancer, then there is always a chance that the woman would also suffer from the same.

6. Is there a link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer?
Use of birth control pills for more than five years lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, though due to the low amount of hormones in pills nowadays, the risk is comparatively small.

7. What is preventive mastectomy?
Preventive Mastectomy refers to the removal of one or both breasts so that risk of getting breast cancer is reduced. Women who are at a high risk of breast cancer go for this option.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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