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Breast Care by Dr Mukesh Batra

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Inputs by Dr. Mukesh Batra, CMD & Founder, Dr. Batra’s

PREVENTION:

The chances of breast cancer increases with age [after 50]. Although there is no one way to prevent it, there are a few simple preventative measures that are deemed helpful to keep the breast cancer wolf from the door.
1. Avoid tobacco and tobacco products. Tobacco causes cancer. Being exposed regularly to tobacco smoke — or, being a passive smoker — also raises the risk, no less
2. Obesity is another cause; if you are overweight, reduce weight and bring it to standard, appropriate levels for your height and age
3. Eat food rich in fibre. Fibre reduces your chance of developing cancer
4. Eat a varied, well-balanced diet with liberal amounts of foods rich in vitamins and minerals
5. Consume 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Important: cut down on fast, junk or fatty rich foods
6. Say no to alcohol
7. Lead a healthy, active life. Exercise and meditate on a regular basis
8. Reduce stress and daily tensions as much as one can possibly can.

SYMPTOMS

To begin with, breast cancer may not cause any symptoms at all.
In some individuals, the first sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast that you or your doctor can feel.
A lump may sometimes be too small to feel or cause any unusual changes. It is only when an abnormal area is detected on a screening mammogram [X-ray of the breast], that directs one to undergo further tests [for diagnosis].
A lump that is painless, hard, and has irregular edges is more likely to be cancer. However this may be, cancers can sometimes be tender, soft and rounded.

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It is, therefore, imperative to have anything atypical, or unusual, checked by your doctor, promptly.
The following changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
• Swelling of all or part of the breast
• Skin irritation or dimpling
• Pain in the breast
• Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
• Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
• Discharge from the nipple, other than breast milk
• A lump in the underarm area
These are not absolute symptoms, or signs, of breast cancer. They can also suggest the presence of less serious conditions that are not cancerous; for example, an infection, or a cyst.
It’s imperative to get any breast changes, even when “insignificant,” checked out by your doctor, without delay.
CARE

Irrespective of one’s age, size or shape of the breasts, it’s important to take care of your breasts. Breast awareness is as important as diet to prevent cancer.
Being “breast aware” means getting to know how your breasts look and feel, so you know what is normal for you. You will be better prepared and more confident about observing any unusual changes.
There’s no best, or right or wrong, method to check your breasts.
Look at and feel your breasts regularly. You can do this when you take a bath or shower, or when you use body lotion, or when you get dressed.
Important: check all parts of your breast and your armpits — up to your collarbone.
Your breast care five-point plan: make it a good habit
1. Know what is normal for you
2. Know what changes to look and feel for
3. Look and feel again
4. Report any changes to your doctor without delay
5. Attend routine breast screening, at a local hospital, if you are aged 40 or over.

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