About Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

According to GLOBOCAN 2012, 1.7 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer and there were 6.3 million women alive who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previousfive years. Since the 2008 estimates, breast cancer incidence has increased by more than 20%, while mortality has increased by 14%.

Breast cancer is also the most common cause of cancer death among women (522 000 deaths in 2012) and the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 184 countries worldwide.

It now represents one in four of all cancers in women.

Incidence has been increasing in most regions of the world, but there are huge inequalities between rich and poor countries. Incidence rates remain highest in more developed regions, but mortality is relatively much higher in less developed countries due toa lack of early detection and access to treatment facilities.

Breast cancer in young Nepalese women represents over one quarter of all female breast cancers, many being diagnosed at an advanced stage. Tumors in young women exhibit more aggressive biological features. Hence, breast cancer in young women is worth special attention for earlier detection.

So far the only breast cancer screening method that has proved to be effective is mammography screening. Mammography screening is very costlyindevelopingcountriesbut is cost-effective and feasible in countries with good health infrastructure that can afford a long-term organized population-based screening programmes. Low-cost screening approaches, such as clinical breast examination, could be implemented in limited resource settings when the necessary evidence from ongoing studies becomes available.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors for breast cancer have been well documented. However, for the majority of women presenting with breast cancer it is not possible to identify specific risk factors.

Familial history,reproductive factors like early menarchae and late menopause, last age of first childbirth, exogenous hormones, alcohol use, obesity etc.

Prevention

Control of specific modifiable breast cancer risk factors as well as effective integrated prevention of non-communicable diseases which promotes healthy diet, physical activity and control of alcohol intake, overweight and obesity, could eventually have an impact in reducing the incidence of breast cancer in the long term.

If breast cancer is found and treated early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.

The key to early detection is screening which can be done by Breast SeifExamination(BSE),Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) and Mammography.

WHAT IS BREAST CANCER?

Breast cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of the Breast. A malignant tumour is a group of cancer cells that can grow into surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but rarely in men. Breast Cancer constitutes a major public health issue globally with over 1 million new cases diagnosed annually, resulting in over 400,000 annual deaths and about 4.4 million women living with the disease. It affects one in eight women during their lives and it is the second leading cause of death among women.

Signs & Symptoms:

It is troubling to know that majority of our females largely ignore changes they might notice around their Breasts; this is indeed very common in our country. Some common signs seen in Breast Cancer such as: Breast Lump which is usually painless, change in size or shape of the breast or discharge from a nipple is largely ignored. It is however important to know that early detection and prompt treatment is the key to surviving this deadly disease.

Diagnosis & Treatment:

Surgery, Radiation treatment and many new and advanced therapies are now available in the developed world and they have contributed to the good prognosis seen in the western world. Many more patients are living longer, but the reverse is the case in our country. Access to care is limited and majority of these advanced therapies are nowhere to be found. But regular physical exercise and avoiding second-hand smoke can reduce the risk of Breast cancer. Also, eating balanced meal; more of fruit and the right nutritional value maintenance can greatly reduce the risk of Breast cancer.

Without gainsaying, early test and detection is the key to staying several steps ahead of the Breast cancer epidemic. At least Breast self-examination should be perform once a month in front of your mirror or while lying down on your bed.

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