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Breast Cancer screening

Posted By Gyno-Blog

December 15, 2018

Breast cancer screening is the medical screening of asymptomatic, apparently healthy women for breast cancer in an attempt to achieve an early diagnosis.

Breast cancer found during screening examinations are more likely to be small and still confined to the breasts. The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are important factors in predicting the prognosis of the disease. Early detection and prompt treatment reduce the risk of death from breast cancer.

The different methods for breast cancer screening are

  1. Breast self examination
  2. Clinical breast examination
  3. Mammogram
  4. MRI
  5. Genetic screening

1. Breast Self Examination

It is a process through which the women can do her self check up to look for changes in the breast tissue. But it is not a substitute for other breast screening methods.

Best time to do breast self examination

3-5 days after periods starts. This should be done every month at the same times as the hormonal variation that takes place during menstrual cycle can also cause changes in the breast.

If you have attained menopause, do this on the same sate every month.

How to do breast self examination

  • Stand in from of the mirror with your upper part of the body exposed.
  • Look for signs of swelling, dimpling or redness on or near breast area.
  • Repeat the same in different positions by placing hands on lips and arms overhead.
  • Palpate your breast with your finger.
  • Palpate the area under the arm pit.
  • Squeeze nipples to check the presence of any changes.

Visit a doctor if found

  • A limp in the breast or underarm area.
  • Darkening or redness of breast.
  • Alteration in size or shape of breast.
  • Scaly rashes on the nipple.
  • Nipple discharge.
  • Pain in the breast area.
  • Dimping or puckering of the skin on the breast.

Breast self examination is the most popular yet least effective method of screening.

2. Clinical Breast Examination

This method involves getting the breast thoroughly examined by a doctor. The result of the screening might not be definite and the patient might be asked to get further test to get a courlusive diagnosis.

3. Mammography

Most reliable and beneficial method of breast screening and it is highly recommended for women above 40 years.

Breast is pressed between two plates to flatten and spread the tissue. It produce a picture of the breast tissue.

Screening mammogram once a year after the age of 40 unless she has a strong family history. If there is a family history of the disease, we should start mammogram 10years earlier than the youngest age of her affected relative.

4. MRI

At this time there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation for or against yearly MRI Screening for woman.

5. Genetic Screening

Most females who develop breast cancer have no family history of disease. But for these a family without the disease, development of this same is due to the inheritance of an abnormal gene high risk of cancer.

What is Breast cancer genetic testing?

It is a screening method that help this woman to learn about the likelihood of getting affected this disease. 
This testing generally check for the presence of abnormal genes BRCA, and BRCA2 genes amongst women. These 2 genes are associated with inheritance of breast cancer.
BRCA, and BRCA2 are present in every individual, but only the abnormalities and mutations in this genes that increase the chance of breast cancer. However, just presence of these abnormal gives doesn’t guarantee the diagnosis of cancer.

How is genetic testing helpful?

If the test is positive, they need not be panic. This can be used as a motivational factor to make the necessary lifestyle changes for reducing the risk of cancer development.

  • They can be offered more frequent and elaborate screening.
  • Hormonal therapy.
  • As an extreme step for prevention, we can offer protective surgery that is which involves removal of both breast.

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