Asymptomatic breast cancers, as the name suggests, do not cause any symptoms to the patient. In certain situations, the disease may have metastasized, which means it has moved from its original site of origin to other sections of the body.
By having early cancer screening tests, one can, however, prevent reaching late stages. Once a year, women over the age of 40 must make an appointment with their gynaecologists for a clinical breast exam.
Dr Mukesh Gupta, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Le Nest Hospital Malad, Mumbai, says, ‘In high-risk cases, screening should be more aggressive from 25 years onwards in consultation with your doctor. A range of imaging tests such as x-ray mammography, breast ultrasound, MRIs, CT, and PET scans are available that can detect any malignancies in the breast. As you age, these tests are an essential preventive strategy for early diagnosis. Cancer may remain undetected for 2 to 5 years and hence the importance of screening tests in asymptomatic women.’
As there is no foolproof prevention technique, diagnosis is the most crucial pillar in improving survival rates for breast cancer patients. The more likely you are to stop the disease from spreading, the earlier you catch it. Self-breast checks once a month are strongly advised because breast cancer has various signs.
Every month, girls 20 years of age and older are required to perform self-breast exams. The ‘look’ and ‘feel’ are the two key factors to take into account when doing a self-examination. Any lumps, shape changes, skin dimples or bulges, and nipple changes including shifting positions, swelling, or nipple inversion should all be watched for. Any fluid discharge, especially if blood tinged or secretions from the breast could be a warning sign and must be immediately reported to your healthcare professional. This is the first step in diagnosis in symptomatic breast cancers.
Self-breast examination is a quick and simple way to diagnose problems, thus it’s important to do it frequently. One cannot, however, ignore the significance of clinical breast exams, especially after the age of 40. As needed and as recommended by your doctor, screening diagnostic and imaging tests like breast ultrasounds or mammography are also suggested.
‘The treatment options available for breast cancer depend on the type, stage and spread of the cancer in the body and the modality of treatment is recommended accordingly. Among surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy, either any one of the treatments is considered or could be a combination of one or more options to manage the removal, spread and recurrence of breast cancers,’ says Dr. Gupta.
A deeper comprehension of the illness and its effects is necessary given the speed at which breast cancer is spreading in India and around the world. Early detection, screening exams, regular checkups, and access to better care all contribute to better outcomes for breast cancer patients in women.