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October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the month is usually associated with awareness campaigns, screening camps, and certain heritage structures turning pink. “Breast cancer incidences are rising at an alarming rate,” says Dr Sanket Shah, Consultant Surgical Oncologist, Gleneagles Global Hospital, Mumbai. “Recently, it has replaced cervical cancer as the most common cancer among females in urban PBCR [Population Based Cancer Registry] and forms more than 30% of registered cases in cancer hospitals among females. One in eight women will have breast cancer in her lifetime. To tackle breast cancer, timely detection is the need of the hour. For doing so, you will have to be watchful of the breast cancer symptoms,” he adds. The most common sign of breast cancer is finding a lump in your breast, but there are a few other tell tale signs.
Tell tale signs you might have breast cancer Dr Swati A. Gaikwad, Consultant obstetrics, Gynecologist at Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, Pune recommends every woman over the age of 30 to do a self-examination every month, and mammography every year. She reveals the other symptoms that could be signs of breast cancer:
1. Thick mass - a hard, fixed mass in breast.
2. An indentation - persistent markings after pressure on breast.
3. Skin erosion - breast skin or nipple wound not healing, occurring repeatedly at the same place.
4. New fluid coming from the nipple - blood, pus, or mucus.
“Once you spot any of these symptoms then just make sure that you immediately consult a doctor, and also explain to him/her whether you have a family history of breast cancer,” says Dr Shah. After doing so, your doctor will advise you to opt for a mammogram or sonomammogram (which are screening tools to detect breast cancer) and a biopsy, if required. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer then your doctor will suggest an appropriate treatment for you (the treatment varies from person to person). Also, you should opt for breast self-examination on a regular basis.