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Breast Cancer Faqs
Oncology

Breast Cancer Faqs

Dr. Vineeta Goel Sep 08, 2023

 BREAST CANCER FAQs

  1. What is Breast Cancer?
  • Cancer arising in breast tissues is called breast cancer. Although, extremely uncommon in men, breast cancer can occur in both women and men.
  1. All breast lumps/swellings are cancer?
  • Majority breast lumps are non- cancerous or benign. However, one need to consult a doctor and get herself checked for confirmation if any palpable breast lump/swelling is there.
  1. Is pain in breast, a symptom of cancer?
  • Cyclical breast pain before or after every menstrual cycle is not related to breast cancer.
  • Majority breast cancers are painless. However sometimes in advanced stages breast cancer may be associated with pain.
  1. Who is at risk of breast cancer?
  • Being woman, itself is a risk for breast cancer which means every woman has some risk for getting breast cancer and this risk increases with increasing age.
  • Risk of breast cancer is higher in women with family history of either breast or ovarian cancer or women with certain genetic abnormalities such as BRCA gene mutations.
  • Additionally, women who start early in age with their menstrual cycles or have late menopause (after age of 50 years) are at a higher risk.
  • Women who have first pregnancy after the age of 30 years or later or have no biological children are also at higher risk.
  • Women who are overweight and inactive also carry higher risk of breast cancer.
  1. Does breast cancer always run-in family? If I have cancer- will my daughter also get it?
  • Not always, majority Breast cancers (>95%) are not hereditary and do not run-in family.
  1. What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
  • Lump/mass/swelling in breast and /or arm pit
  • Change in size or shape of breast
  • Change in position of nipple, bloody nipple discharge, nipple retraction (Nipple turns inwards)
  • Change in skin colour or texture: dimpling, puckering or redness
  1. How can I lower my risk of breast cancer?
  • Breast cancer risk can be lowered by adopting a healthy lifestyle practices like
  • Be physically active and daily exercise
  • Balanced diet
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Early pregnancy and breast feeding
  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol
  • Monthly breast self –examination after age of 25 years
  • Clinical Breast Examination by doctor from age of 25-40 years- Once a year
  • Screening mammogram – once a year after age of 40 years
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer, discuss genetic testing with a genetic counselor.
  1. How can I get breast cancer screening done?
  • Breast cancer screening has several components.
  • After the age of 25 Years, start with monthly self -breast examination.
  • Clinical Breast Examination by doctor from age of 25-40 years- Once a year
  • Mammogram (X Ray of Breasts) once a year after the age of 40 years.
  1. What is Mammogram/mammography?
  • Mammography is a special type of low dose x-ray of breasts.
  1. What is the ideal time to do breast self- examination?
  • Best time for breast self -examination is 2-3 days after cessation of menstruation.
  • For women who have attained menopause, they can fix a particular date very month for self - examination.
  1. Does wearing padded or wired bra or use of antiperspirants increase risk of breast cancer?
  • No, there are no clinical studies suggesting that wearing padded/wired bra or use of antiperspirants increase risk of breast cancer.
  1. Does Breast cancer spread by doing biopsy/needle test?
  • No way- No cancer including breast cancer does not spread by any needle test or biopsy. Biopsy is an essential diagnostic test for confirmation of diagnosis.

   

  1. For patients with Breast cancer- is removal of whole breast (mastectomy) is safest and only treatment option?
  • All pts with breast cancer do not necessary need complete surgical removal of breasts/mastectomy. Removal of only tumour/cancer and preservation of breast – called as breast conservation surgery is as safe as mastectomy for majority breast cancer patients.
  1. Do all patients with Breast cancer need chemotherapy?
  • Small percentage of early and favorable breast cancer patients may not require chemotherapy. In the present times, all cancer patients are discussed in tumour board to discuss optimum treatment strategies.

Author- Dr Vineeta Goel Director and Head, Department of Radiation Oncology Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi 110088

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Meet the doctor

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Dr. Vineeta Goel
DIRECTOR & HOD RADIATION ONCOLOGY | FCI Defence Colony
  • Oncology | Radiation Oncology | Oncology
  • Date 20 Years
  • INR
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Fortis Vasant Kunj | Fortis Shalimar Bagh

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