IT DOESN`T ALWAYS START WITH A LUMP | La Familia Medical Center For Consultation and Appointments


October 29, 20170


October 29, 20170


Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be felt as a lump. If the tumor is malignant (cancer), the cells can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body.

Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but this can be determined only by your doctor. Every woman is at a risk of developing breast cancer, having a family history increases this risk.


What we need to know is, the sooner a cancer is detected, the easier it will be to treat.
Mammography works by compressing the breast tissue which can sometimes cause slight discomfort for a very short time. It is advised to schedule mammograms a week after the menstrual cycle as the breasts are less tender.


lafamilia | Breast cancerBREAST SELF-EXAMINATION (BSE)

Every woman should make self-examination a habit to check her breasts for lumps, thickening or other changes every month. Examining your breasts regularly will educate you on how your breasts normally feel. It’s a routine that gives you the opportunity to spot changes that need your doctor`s attention. The best time for BSE is 6-10 days after the 1st day of your period as the breasts are not tender or sore.


What are you looking for?

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Any rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple
  • Sudden Nipple discharge
  • Painful spot, persistent for a long time


What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk Of Breast Cancer?

Although you cannot prevent cancer, some habits that can help reduce your risk are:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay physically active
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Do not smoke
  • Limit alcohol consumption


This is why Breast Self-Examination (BSE) is given utmost importance by Doctors. Any changes noticed on BSE should be brought to the notice of your health care provider at the earliest. This helps in early plan of care and timely treatment.


The next step after this is a mammogram to diagnose the breast changes.

  • A mammogram is recommended once a year for women over 40 years of age
  • Women younger than 40 should ask their healthcare professional whether mammograms are advisable and how often to have them
  • Same goes for women with risk factors (genetic predisposition etc) for breast cancer


What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk Of Breast Cancer?

A mammogram is the best screening tool used today to find breast cancer early. It is an X-Ray picture of the breast. A mammogram can find cancer even before you notice any changes in your breast.

It can find cancer when it is more contained and easier to treat often without having to loose the breast.

It is recommended that all women have a mammogram screening every year starting at the age of 40 (and perhaps earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer).

  • Lie down on your back with a pillow under your shoulder
  • Use the pads of the three middle fingers on your left hand to check your right breast
  • Press using soft, medium and strong pressure in a circular motion without lifting your fingers off the breast skin
  • Follow an up and down pattern
  • Feel for changes in your breast, above and below your collarbone and in your armpit
  • Repeat on your left breast using your right hand.


lafamilia | Breast cancer– FEEL YOUR BREASTS WHILE LYING DOWN

  • Hold arms at your side
  • Hold arms over your head
  • Press your hands on your hips and tighten your chest muscles
  • Bend forward with your hands on your hips


Finally: Be persistent and speak up
Be your own health advocate and make sure you mention any breast changes or lumps to your doctor. If your concerns are dismissed without further investigations get a second opinion.

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