I am Dr. Ashish Goel I am a surgical oncologist so today we will talk about breast cancer. As you are all aware breast cancer is increasing in our society daily. It has, in fact, become one of the most common cancer in women and in also in India. So the first question which comes is - Who is at risk to develop breast cancer? Well, the most important risk factor is being a woman. Being a woman itself you are at higher risk. Some other factors which include are - your age; most of the cancers occurring are at the age of 45 to 55 or above but it is still not rare in younger women. Even in mid-twenties, people can get breast cancer. At the same time, I do not want to alarm you because all lumps` of the breast are not cancerous especially in younger women. Some of these lumps are benign, that is non-cancerous and mostly related to hormonal changes in the body. So whenever you have a lump in your breast or you have some kind of abnormal nipple discharge, the most important thing is you should be vigilant enough and see your doctor.
You must have a complete clinical examination. So when you have a lump in your breast and if it is suspicious of cancer you need some investigation. The most important investigation is a complete clinical examination by a specialist who may be a cancer surgeon or who may be an oncologist. Then the doctor will ask you to undergo an ultrasound in the breast and sometimes a mammogram of the breast which is a special type of X-Ray. The final diagnosis comes from a biopsy from a lump. Good news is that breast cancer is now becoming curable and there is a lot of advancement in the treatment especially the surgical techniques. These days there is no need to remove the whole breast as it was used to be done in the past. We can treat your breast cancer by doing breast conservation surgery which means to remove a part of the lump, part of the breast and we save the breast. That is we do a breast conservation surgery with reconstruction of the breast using some kind of oncoplastic technique.
Most of the patients may also require chemotherapy and some form of radiotherapy. So there is equal emphasis on cosmetics besides a cure for breast cancer and there is also a lot of improvement in the available medicines that is medical oncology and the available techniques of radiation therapy have become more precise and less and less in side effects. So my tip of the day would be to be aware of your breast, you should be aware of any abnormalities or symptoms in terms of any lumps, bumps or any kind of abnormal nipple discharge. Always do a self-breast examination at least once a month. Go to the doctor for a clinical breast examination at least once in a year. Do a mammogram of your breast as a screening protocol for women above 40 years.