Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October, BCAM

October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, not day not week a full month. Though I happened to know about breast cancer and its consequences, a bit also about its causes and symptoms, it was only after I took the quiz by that I realized how ill-informed I was, not only was I having some myths and misconceptions about this widespread dreaded disease, but also was missing out on some serious facts. You could also test your Breast Cancer awareness by taking the quiz yourself, but before that read on so that you get all the answers right (unlike me)!

Like for instance I was under the impression that Breast cancer can affect only women over the age of 40years, but now I know this was my false impression, cause although breast cancer in women is a common form of cancer, male breast cancer also occurs and accounts for about 1% of all cancer deaths in men.
Likewise, young women are being diagnosed in their teens, twenties and thirties. Even if the percentage is very low compared to that of older women aged 40 years and older, the point is it does happen. So it is more than necessary that we all spread the awareness message to all and sundry.

Research has yielded much information about the causes of breast cancers, and it is now believed that genetic and/or hormonal factors are the primary risk factors for breast cancer.

Staging systems have been developed to allow doctors to characterize the extent to which a particular cancer has spread and to make decisions concerning treatment options.

Breast cancer treatment depends upon many factors, including the type of cancer and the extent to which it has spread. The options are Mastectomy - Removal of the whole breast including cancerous tissues or Lumpectomy - Surgical removal of involved breast tissue with a bit of healthy tissue.

Some Simple facts:
An Indian woman has a chance of 1 in 28 of getting breast cancer in her life.
(Is this higher or lower than that of an American woman? After all we have to compare ourselves with them on all counts.)

Four hours of moderate exercise per week reduces the risk of breast cancer
(Another great excuse to get on that treadmill right now!)

A low fat diet with enough vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of breast cancer
(Don’t we always read this for keep away from of all diseases?)

Alcohol in take in excess of 60ml per day (of 70% spirit) increases the risk.
(That means we can drink 50ml per day! Cheers!)

Age is a risk factor in the development of breast cancer.
(There another reason to hide my real age.)

Male gender's not exempt from breast cancer.
(Talk about gender equality.)

Some Serious Facts

Annual Examination by a breast physician /breast surgeon is recommended when a screening mammogram is done.

Oestrogen replacement treatment in menopausal women increases the risk of breast cancer.

Oral contraceptives used for over 10 years in women under 35 increases the risk of breast cancer. However 10 years after discontinuing, the risk ceases to exist.

Mammography in women younger than 40 years has a low yield owing to density of the breast.

Breast feeding for over 6 months reduces the risk. The more children you breast feed, the more you reduce the risk.

You have higher chance if a first degree relative (mother/sister) has the disease

Self Examination +annual doctors Examination + periodic mammogram has decreased the mortality from breast cancer.

But the good news is Breast cancer has a cure rate nearing 90% when detected early. It is advised to conduct a Breast Self-Exam after the age of 20 every month and an annual
Clinical Breast Examination after the age of 30 by a Qualified Doctor and then after the age of 50 an annual Mammography is a must.

Pictures courtesy 


  1. Nice Sis...Spreading the Awareness within our women is really important..

  2. @Pratick, welcome officially, this being yr 1st comment~ well, even u need to be aware, like i said there is no gender bias.

  3. Well written and well informed article Pooja, keep writing........
    my sis in law (husband's sis) has gone thru this horrible disease and it was painful for all in the family to see her in so much pain. She is good now but only after they removed one of her breast. May God keep all the women safe!

  4. @Fatima, welcome this being your 1st comment. Thanks for taking the time out to leave your words.
    Yes, its very painful and tiring not only for the patient but also the near and dear ones. My mother's sis and her family also had to go through this trauma 18 years back, and now it seems that there are chances of it relapsing after 20 years, so again they have to go through the mental trauma.
    May GOD keep everyone healthy and happy.


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