October is not just a month of changing seasons, it's also a time dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer. So on account of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we at Medicircle decided to host an Insta Live webinar with two distinguished experts who shed light on the crucial topic of breast cancer awareness. Dr. Aarathi Ardha, Assistant Professor at the MNJ Institute of Technology and Regional Cancer Centre, and Dr. Karishma Kirti, Consultant Breast Specialist and oncoplastic Surgeon at Jaslok Hospital, shared valuable insights. Let's break down the key takeaways from this discussion.
Understanding Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women globally, and India is no exception. While it can impact anyone, awareness becomes a powerful tool for prevention and early diagnosis. Breast cancer can show various signs like skin tension, swelling, ulcers, persistent water discharge from the nipple, etc.
Causes and Risk Factors
Dr. Karishma Kirti explained how the causes of breast cancer can be diverse and include non-modifiable risk factors like age, gender, family history, genetic mutations, and radiation. On the other hand, certain lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, obesity during menopause, lack of exercise, and the use of hormonal pills or replacement therapy can be modified to reduce the risk.
Early pregnancy, with a focus on providing good nutrition to children, is highlighted as one of the preventive measures against breast cancer. Making lifestyle changes like incorporating fresh fruits, vegetables, chia seeds, or flax seeds into the diet, along with avoiding processed foods, red meat, and alcohol, can significantly reduce the risk.
Early Detection and Tailored Care
Dr. Aarathi Ardha explained how in the past, breast cancer predominantly affected older women but now with increased awareness, improved screening methods, and early detection, there has been a notable surge in cases among younger women. Several factors, including modern lifestyle changes and family history, contribute to this shift. The positive aspect of this rise in breast cancer cases lies in our ability to identify it at early stages. This enables us to offer timely and tailored care to patients through well-planned and customized treatments.
Symptom Recognition and Self-Examination
Understanding the symptoms of breast cancer and adopting self-examination practices from a young age are crucial for early detection. Monthly self-checks, differentiating between normal and abnormal appearances, and annual examinations by a doctor are vital practices.
Seeking Reliable Information
In this digital age, where information is readily available at our fingertips, it is important to consume data with caution, especially when it concerns life-threatening diseases such as breast cancer. While the internet serves as a valuable resource, the reliability of the information available online varies significantly. Background checks on the information obtained from online sources is mandatory. It's essential to verify the credibility of the platforms, ensuring that the content is from reputable medical institutions, organizations, or healthcare professionals.
Key takeaways for Breast Cancer Awareness:
1. Early Detection Saves Lives: Early detection is a game-changer in the fight against breast cancer. Regular self-examinations, clinical check-ups, and mammograms can help identify any abnormalities at an early stage, significantly improving the chances of successful treatment.
2. Know Your Normal: Understanding what is normal for your breasts is crucial. Any changes, such as lumps, swelling, or unusual pain, should be promptly addressed. Breast Cancer Awareness Month encourages women to know their bodies and seek medical advice if something feels different.
3. Lifestyle Matters: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can contribute to breast health. From maintaining a balanced diet to staying physically active, small changes can make a big difference.
4. Break the Silence: Open conversations about breast health are essential to break the silence surrounding breast cancer. Encouraging discussions within families, communities, and workplaces helps remove stigma and promotes a supportive environment.
Breast cancer awareness is a collective responsibility. By understanding the risk factors, adopting preventive measures, and promoting early detection, we empower women to take charge of their breast health. Regular screenings, a healthy lifestyle, and seeking professional advice play pivotal roles in the fight against breast cancer. Together, we can turn the tide and create a future where breast cancer is not just treatable but preventable. To experience the entire session, kindly watch the complete webinar on our YouTube channel and feel free to comment your suggestions and queries in the comment section below.