Expert talk: Self examination for breast cancer and other related risks

We spoke to Dr. Sonia Rawat to know about breast cancer, its symptoms and preventive measures. She also shared the way to conduct a self examination for breast cancer.

Dr Sonia Rawat
Written by: Dr Sonia RawatPublished at: Oct 23, 2018
Expert talk: Self examination for breast cancer and other related risks

The number of cases of breast cancer is increasing tremendously, it has now become the most common cancer in Indian women. There can be many factors behind it. Lack of awareness is one of the major factors. Women are not aware of the early symptoms they must look out for. Every woman should be aware of all the possible symptoms of breast cancer and should also know how to conduct a self-examination.

To spread more awareness about breast cancer, its symptoms, and preventive measures, we spoke to Dr. Sonia Rawat, who is the Director of Preventive Health and Wellness in Sir Gangaram Hospital, Delhi.

What is breast cancer and what are its causes?

When the cells of breast become abnormal, it leads to breast cancer. There are many causes behind it and some of them can be modified whereas some of them cannot be modified. Non-modifiable causes may include genetics, gender or age. Modifiable risk factors are the one which can be controlled like smoking, drinking or intake of hormonal contraceptive pills after menopause, delayed pregnancy or not breastfeeding your child.

Can obesity lead to breast cancer?

Yes, obesity is another modifiable risk factor of breast cancer. One can get rid of obesity by increasing physical activity to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Also read: 4 Breast cancer symptoms other than breast lump you should watch out for

Which age group is more vulnerable to breast cancer?

Age is an important factor that affects the risk of breast cancer. Women who are above 40 are more likely to suffer from breast cancer. But if it is genetic then breast can happen at an early age.

Can men also suffer from breast cancer?

Yes, men can also suffer from breast cancer. The number of cases is less as compared to women. The causes of breast cancer in men are also hormonal as well as daily habits like smoking and drinking just as in the case of women. The symptoms of breast cancer in men are also the same as women.

Is lump the only symptom for breast cancer?

Lump in the breast is the most common symptom but there are symptoms other than a lump. Other symptoms may include redness or swelling of breast tissue, change in shape of the breast, scaliness of skin around the breast, nipple discharge, change in shape of the nipple, lump near armpits or around the neck.

How can one conduct a self-examination to detect breast cancer?

Self-examination is the first thing one can do to detect breast cancer. Both men and women can look themselves in the mirror to find out if there are any possible symptoms. They should watch carefully in the mirror whether there is any change in the breast tissue or if there is any kind of swelling. If one discovers a breast lump they must examine it very carefully and consult a doctor immediately. Self-examination should be done on a regular basis. 

If someone discovers a lump, who should he or she consult?

As soon as one detects a breast lump, he or she should see a doctor immediately. The doctor will later advice further tests and refer doctor accordingly. If the woman is above 35 then she should go for mammography, which is a low dose x-ray for the breast and for those who are less than the age of 35, MRI mammography is conducted. The findings of the investigation will determine which doctor should be consulted.

Also read: Must-know Facts about Breast Cancer Treatment

Should a healthy woman undergo mammography to check any risk for breast cancer?

Screening is done for a healthy woman to check the possibility of breast cancer. Every woman should go for screening at least once in their lifetime to determine any possibility of breast cancer. If a woman is having a family history of breast cancer then she should definitely go for screening at an early age.

Can any lifestyle changes prevent breast cancer?

Prevention is better than cure, so women should exercise daily and avoid smoking and drinking. They should increase their physical activity and maintain a well-balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables should be an important part of their diet. Daily intake of protein, fat, and carbohydrates should also be monitored. 

After undergoing surgery for breast cancer, can it trigger again?

After breast cancer surgery doctors advise regular interventions, so women should go for a regular checkup to avoid any kind of further development of breast cancer. 

Read more articles on Breast Cancer.

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