Preventive Breast Clinic
Pune Breast Care
At Pune Breast Care, we know that prevention and early detection are critical to saving lives from breast cancer. We also realise that women do not always prioritise their health and are hesitant to come in for regular exams. Our all-women's clinic team, electronic medical records and appointment reminder systems, make preventive breast checks seem like a breeze. We help you to
Learn about your risk of Breast Cancer
Advice you on lowering your risk
Formulate a Personalised Screening Plan
Help you learn how to perform Breast Self Exams
Review your Annual Mammography Reports
Send You Reminders for your Annual Breast Checkups
Prevention and Risk Reduction
There is no vaccine you can take to prevent breast cancer, but here are 6 ways you can lower your risk and help prevent breast cancer
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.
3 Practices for Early Detection
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.
#1 Breast Self 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.
#2 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.
#3 Screening Mammography
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, 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 an oncologist.
"Being Smart About Your Breast Health"
-Dr Pranjali Gadgil
Breast Cancer Prevention FAQs
How should I prepare for a mammogram?
If you are healthy premenopausal and undergoing a regular screening mammogram, try to schedule your test in the week after your menstrual period when the breasts are less tender. Do not apply deodorants, talcum powders and antiperspirants around the breast or armpits before your exam, as the salts contained in these may cause “specks” to appear on the mammogram. You do not need to fast for the exam and no IV or contrast is needed for the test. Remember to gather your previous mammography and ultrasound reports as well as images on films or CDs. Decisions in reporting involve comparison with images from prior years and noting changes over time. Any prior breast biopsy or surgery reports should also be made available to the radiologist reading your mammogram. If you’re anxious, take a friend or family member to accompany you.
Is radiation from mammography harmful?
A mammogram delivers very low dose of radiation. There is constant background radiation in the environment that we are constantly exposed to. The radiation dose from a mammogram is estimated to equal to about two months of background radiation for the average woman. This is much lower than radiation from other investigations such as CT scan of the chest. Most experts advise that the benefits of early detection far outweigh any possible harm from radiation.
Can a mammogram miss a cancer?
Mammograms are not 100% accurate in detecting breast cancer. If you feel a problem but your mammogram doesn’t show it, do not hesitate to come in for a specialist opinion.
A normal mammogram when you have cancer is called a “false negative”. Your possibility of having a false negative report is increased if you have “dense breasts” that do not allow optimal X-ray penetration. You may be advised supplemental tests such as ultrasound or breast MRI depending on your risk.
When should I do a self breast exam?
The best time to do a self-exam is in the few days after your period when the breast is less tender and lumpy. If you have undergone menopause or a hysterectomy, you can pick any day of the month that’s easy to remember such as the 1st of the month or the day you get your monthly salary.
Could this lump I feel on self-exam be breast cancer?
If you find a breast lump, do not panic as most breast lumps are not cancerous.However do not try to diagnose yourself at home. See a breast specialist who can examine you and advise any additional investigations that may be needed for an accurate diagnosis.
Where should I go for a mammogram?
A team of technicians and radiologists that is experienced and competent in breast imaging should perform mammography. Several centers in India now have “Full field Digital Mammography with tomosynthesis” a more advanced technique that is particularly helpful in women with dense breasts. It allows smaller cancers to be picked up earlier and also avoids “false positives” from tissue overlap. If possible, have all your exams performed at one place that keeps your old records and has them available for comparison. We can advise you on mammography when you come for your clinical breast exam.
At what age should I start mammography and how often should I do it?
We usually advise women to come in for a baseline screening mammogram at age 40 years. After a review of your risk factors and a clinical exam, a personalized screening strategy is prepared for you. Women over the age of 40 years women are usually advised mammography every 1-2 years. After the age of 50 years, the test is advised annually. If you have a strong family history or known genetic risk, you may need to start screening earlier and use other tools besides mammography. Consult a breast specialist who can guide you appropriately.
I am 25 years old, should I undergo mammography?
No. Breast tissue in young women is too dense to allow X-ray penetration and obtain any useful information. Incidence of breast cancer in young women is low and hence it is not advisable for all healthy young women to undergo screening. When a young woman has a breast complaint, we usually perform an ultrasound examination of the breast.
Upto what age is mammography recommended?
There is no specific age at which you should stop mammography as risk of cancer increases with age. As long as you are healthy enough to undergo treatments, it is ok to continue annual mammography. Early detection of breast cancer also improves outcomes in the elderly.
How to perform a self breast exam? It seems complicated
Doing a self breast exam doesn't mean you're expected to make a diagnosis at home. If you perform regular monthly breast exams, you get used to feeling what your normal breast feels and look like. The easiest way to do this is when you're soaping up in the shower, pay attention to what your breast feels like. If you notice something unusual or something different from your last self-exams, you simply need to schedue a consultation with a breast specialist.
How much does Mammography cost in Pune?
A cost of a mammogram can vary anywhere in the range of Rs 800-3000. Keep in mind that a lot of smaller centers and clinics have older analogue or film mammography equipment. Dedicated Breast imaging centers and departments have what we call "Full Field Digital Mammography" with 3 D imaging called 'tomosynthesis" This test may seem to be more expensive however it is able to pick up smaller breast cancer earlier especially in women who have 'dense breasts'. It has lesser number of 'false positives'. If you are going to a do screening mammography, we generally advise women to invest in a good quality digital mammogram.
Breast Cancer Awareness
At Pune Breast Care, we know that community awareness is the key to saving lives from breast cancer. We are committed to improving breast cancer awareness amongst women in and around Pune city. We regularly conduct screening camps, educational events, community talks for breast health and breast cancer awareness. Our activities our supported by our NGO I-SHARE Foundation.
Plan a Breast Cancer Awareness Session for your Community
Contact us if you would like to conduct a breast cancer awareness workshop for you group. We do not charge professional fees for these sessions, but welcome donations to support our cause. Titled "Breast Cancer Myths and Facts" these interactive sessions are designed to improve knowledge about breast cancer and inculcating self-advocacy towards personal health.