You just found a lump in your breast. Now what? What do you do? Who do you call? What will Google tell you?
DO I HAVE BREAST CANCER?
The fact is only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer. Saying that, breast lumps are never to be ignored.
THE FIRST STEP.
- See your surgeon/physician for initial breast examination.
- Write down all your queries that you want to ask your surgeon.
WHAT WILL THE SURGEON / PHYSIAN DO?
- It all probability the surgeon will order The following
- Breast imaging – Mammography.
- FNAC – fine needle aspiration cytology (depending upon the result of imaging.)
DO I NEED THESE TESTS?
YES – You do.
The imaging will give a fair idea about the nature of lump – whether benign/malignant
The FNAC – will affirm the diagnosis of benign/cancerous lump and tell the type.
So you need both of these before you / physician take the decision to remove the lump.
WHAT IS FNAC? IT IS PAINFUL?
This is the procedure done in local Anaesthesia where a needle is introduced into the breast lump and aspirated to get some cell.
There are then studied under a microscope to look for evidence of cancer.
IS MAMMOGRAPHY RISKY?
Mammography or X-ray of the breast is the gold standard for early detection of breast cancer. It does not cause the cancer to spread due to radiation exposure.
WHY DID I GET BREAST CANCER?
You must be wondering, how come me?
The common breast cancer risk factor are.
- Family genetics.
- Reproductive history, never pregnant, or prolonged interval between menarche and first live birth.
- Previous breast abnormalities.
- Use of menopausal hormone therapy, especially if used for three years or more.
- Increased body mass index (BMI).
- Alcohol consumption (even at moderate levels)
Many a times is remains unexplained why it happens?
NOW WHAT – I HAVE BREAST CANCER
First, the staging for breast cancer is done.
Second, the treatment available and suited for your case are elaborated.
Which mainly is – Chemotherapy/Surgery.
IS IT CONTAGIOUS?
You cannot transfer breast cancer to someone else. It occurs due to uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells.
CAN I AVOID IT SOME HOW?
Some risk factors are not modifiable.
Some risk factors are so that you can reduce them.
- Living a healthy lifestyle
- limiting alcohol
- Controlling your weight
TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH By,
Performing routine breast self – exams,
Establishing ongoing communication with your doctor,
Getting an annual clinical breast exam,
Scheduling your routine screening mammograms.