Breast Cancer Risk Reduction
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in India today. There is no vaccine to prevent breast cancer, but following these tips you can lower your risk.
Be physically active: Women who exercise even 30 minutes every day have lower cancer risk than women who do not
Limit alcohol: The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer.
Don't smoke: Smoking is associated with increased breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women.
Watch your weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer particularly after menopause.
Breast-feed: Breast-feeding slightly lowers risk of breast cancer and is also important for development of the baby.
Limit use of HRT (hormone replacement therapy). If you need to use hormone supplements after menopause for hot flashes or mood symptoms, use the lowest dose for the shortest possible period of time.
Regular Breast Exams
Early detection of breast cancer is the key to successful cure with less invasive treatments. Regular breast exams do not prevent breast cancer. However if you are destined to get breast cancer, your chances of survival are dramatically improved by early detection.
Self Breast Exam
All women over the age of 20 years are advised to perform a self-breast exam once a month.
When you perform monthly exams, you get comfortable knowing what your normal breasts look and feel like. If you would like to learn how to perform a breast exam, we can teach you the correct technique when you come for your annual visit.
Clinical Breast Exam
All women over the age of 30 years are advised to undergo a physical breast exam by a doctor once a year. A clinical breast exam is recommended even if you’re undergoing regular mammography, as some areas as some parts of the breast may not get included in a mammography image. If you do not have a physician or gynaecologist doing these exams for you, call us to schedule your annual visit.
All women over the age of 40 years are advised to undergo mammography once a year. A mammogram is a specialised radiograph (X-ray) of the breast. To obtain a mammogram, the breast tissue is placed between compression plates on the mammography machine, while a low dose X-ray beam is used to obtain an of the breast tissue called a “mammogram”
A screening exam, typically involves 2 views of each breast, with one X-ray shot in the top-to-bottom direction (CC view) while the other shot sideways (MLO view). A radiologist then interprets these images and makes a report with recommendations.
A mammogram can pick up cancers several months or years before they can be felt as a lump either by you or a doctor. Women who have small tumours picked up at an early stage have a higher chance of survival compared to those diagnosed at a more advanced stage. These tumours are less likely to need a mastectomy for treatment and are also less likely to need chemotherapy, compared to tumours diagnosed once they are felt as a lump.
Women who are high risk of developing breast cancer can be prescribed medicines that can lower their risk of getting cancer. High risk cases include harmful BRCA 1 and 2 mutations (link to genetic counselling page) high risk findings on breast biopsy such as atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH) and lobular carcinoma in situ(LCIS). Medications that may be prescribed include Tamoxifen, Raloxifene and Aromatase Inhibitors. These are prescription medications and should be taken under supervision of a breast specialist or oncologist.