God forbid! It is not my portion! I can’t have it at all! I reject it!
These are some of the responses people still give in 2020 when they are being talked to on how they can prevent breast cancer – one of the biggest killers of women globally.
Ladies (and gentlemen of course)! Can we stop acting like the proverbial ostrich? Breast cancer is real and there’s no way to make it sound sweeter or easier.
Did you know that almost half of people who get cancer are diagnosed late, making the treatment less likely to succeed which reduces their chances of survival? This is according to Cancer Research UK. These findings have highlighted the worryingly high rates of late diagnosis, and the resultant poor survival.
Although medical experts are making daily efforts to see to improvement in diagnosis people are still responsible for their health first.
This is not all gloom and doom. Diagnosing cancer at its earliest stages, before it has had a chance to spread to other parts of the body, can have a huge effect on survival rate. Because once a cancer has spread, it is often harder to treat successfully, which means that a person’s chances of surviving are much lower.
The good news is that one can have breast cancer and recover from it if it is diagnosed early and there are ways to get that done.
Tips for Early detection of Breast Cancer:
Here are a few helpful tips which may allow you to spot breast cancer before it is too late:
- Conduct routine at-home breast exams. How to perform the self-breast exam is below.
- Be aware of any hereditary predisposition to breast cancer by discussing with relatives.
- See your doctor for annual check-ups and breast examination.
- Seek medical attention if you notice any slight difference – lumps, knots, thickening, swelling in the tissue on your breasts.
- Check for changes in size or shape. It may also be an indication of cancer.
- Get routine mammograms once you are 40 and above.
- Get expert check earlier if other women in your family have developed breast cancer.
How to conduct the Self Breast Examination:
- Stand in front of a mirror, undressed from the waist up. Look at your breasts with your shoulders straight and arms on your hips. Look for noticeable changes in size, shape, or position.
- Check to see if your breast are evenly shaped with no odd skin texture, colour or distortion.
- See if any fluid is coming out of one or both nipples.
- Place your arms above your head and look for any of those changes. Then, lay down with one arm raised above behind your head.
- With a circular motion, using your fingers from the other hand, feel your breasts for any lumps or abnormalities.
- Cover the entire breast top to bottom, and side to side. Go all the way from your armpit to the centre of your chest. Repeat the same for other side using the other hand.
Women can check their breasts in the same way while standing or sitting down. This can be done in or immediately after a shower.
It is very important to inform and remind the women in your life to do that same.
Should you notice any change in any way, quickly go see your doctor. Do not procrastinate.
The cycle of delayed diagnosis and increased cases of breast cancer doesn’t have to continue. It starts with that simple self-breast examination.
Do you have or know anyone with a breast cancer story and are willing to share? Do slide into our comments section.