October- Breast cancer awareness month

Breast cancer

is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth  in the breast with the potential of spreading to other parts of the body.

Most of the time the first sign of breast cancer is a new lump( painless, hard and has even edges is more likely to be cancer) in the breast that you or a doctor can feel. Though a times cancer can be tender soft and round.

symptoms

Breast cancer symptoms vary from lumps to swelling to skin changes and many breast cancer have no obvious at all. Below is some of the most common symptoms of breast cancer,

  • Breast pain
  • swelling of the breast
  • nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • a lump in the under arm area.
  • Skin irritation
  • redness/thickening of the nipple/breast skin

Changes also can be signs of less serious conditions that are not cancerous such as an infection/cyst.

Regular screening is important because to many women breast cancer  have no symptoms.

Diagnosis of breast cancer.

Breast  cancer can be diagnosed in different ways which include:- Breast Self Examination (BSE), imaging test to find breast cancer and biopsy.

  • Breast Self Examination.

BSE refers to examining breast on your own ,it is recommended every woman should do this monthly.It helps one familiarize themselves with their breast structure so it is easy to identify any changes.

Breast self examination while lying down.

  • Lie down and place a folded towel under your right shoulder.Put your right hand behind your head ,place your left hand on the upper position of your right breast with fingers together and flat.Body lotion may make this easier.
  • Think of your breast as a face on a clock .Start 12’o’clock and move toward 1 o’clock keeping your fingers flat and in constant contact with your breast.When the circle is complete another circle around the clock.Continue in this pattern until you’ve felt the entire breast. Make sure to feel the upper outer areas that extend into your armpit.
  • Place your fingers flat and directly on top of your nipple , feel beneath the nipple for any changes . Gently press your nipple inward . It should move easily.
  • Repeat these steps on your other breast . Don’t forget to check the upper outer area of the breast nearest to the armpit.

imaging test find breast cancer includes:-

  • Mammograms
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Breast MRIs

– is done when mammograms or other imaging tests show a breast change that may be cancer. It’s the only way to know for sure if it’s cancer.

Treatment of breast Cancer.

  • Chemotherapy

Is a treatment that uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells.A doctor may recommend it after you have surgery to kill any remaining cancer that operation might have left,this helps minimize the chance that breast cancer will come back. This is the main treatment for women whose cancer has spread to the body parts outside the breast and lymph nodes.

  • Radiation therapy.

Uses high powered energy beams , such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. Adjuvant Radiation therapy focuses on the affected area to reduce the risk of cancer recurring in that area.

  • Hormone therapy.

For the cancers sensitive to hormones this kinda therapy is used to block the effect of hormones on the cancer.Hormone therapy can be used together with surgery radiation /chemotherapy.

  • Immunotherapy

Works with your body’s immune system to fight off remaining cancer cells.Can either stimulate your body’s own defenses or supplement them.

  • Targeted therapy.

Aims to alter specific abnormalities present within cancer cells. For example women with a type of breast cancer that makes too much protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2(HER2) may choose a targeted therapy drug that blocks the action of that specific protein.

October is a breast cancer awareness and most of the health care institutions such as Nairobi Women’s Hospital and others offer free Breast Cancer Screening.Why don’t you make a date with your girls and help us fight against breast cancer?…

 

 

 

 

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