Breast Cancer: All You Need To Know

Breast Cancer –  An Overview

Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Source: Mayo Clinic(22-11-2019)

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. Although it occurs in men and women, it is much more prevalent among women. Raising awareness of this condition is vital in ensuring timely treatment and removing the stigma surrounding it.

An abnormal lump in the breast is not the only symptom. If there are any changes in the size, shape or appearance of the breast it is advised that one consults a doctor as soon as possible. There are several factors which increase the risk of breast cancer. These include age, gender, family history, exposure to radiation and weight issues.

To know more about the causes and symptoms of breast cancer click here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352470

Breast Cancer – Screening 

Cancer Screening

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Breast cancer screening helps provide adequate warning and allows us to take timely remedial actions. Self-examination is critical but tests like Mammogram, Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Clinical breast exam. These are helpful for an initial confirmation that breast cancer doesn’t exist or to get any irregularities checked.

To read more about breast cancer screening and doctor’s recommendations, click here:
https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/screening.htm

Self-Examinations

Source: breastcancer.org

Self-examinations are crucial for early detection especially in combination with regular physical checkups with a doctor.  Make self-examinations part of a monthly routine. Keeping a journal to record the examinations also help as sometimes due to menstruation there will be certain changes. When doing a self-examination one should look out for any changes in shape, size, colour. Also look out for swelling, redness, change in nipple position and any fluid discharge.

This article provides detailed step by step instructions on how to conduct a self-examination:  https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam

Breast Cancer – Diagnosis & Treatment

Tests & Treatment Options

Source: Mayo Clinic

The treatment of Breast Cancer is determined by the type of breast cancer, its shape & grade and whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones. One’s overall health and  preferences are important considerations. Treatment options vary – surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation, etc.

 One may feel overwhelmed while making a complex decision. It is best to seek a second opinion and to talk to other women who have faced the same decision.
 


Side Effects of Treatment

Source: Cancer Care

Breast cancer treatments come with a number of side effects.

Communication between the patient/caregiver and the healthcare team on all aspects of well-being is important. With their guidance, it is possible to maximize quality of life while dealing with breast cancer treatments.

To read more about coping with side effects, visit- https://www.cancercare.org/publications/119-coping_with_challenging_side_effects_of_breast_cancer_treatment

Being a Cancer Caregiver

Supporting A Spouse Through Breast Cancer

Source: Cancer Care

A breast cancer diagnosis can be challenging for both the caregiver and the patient. Communication is key; ensure that you ask your loved one’s questions and listen when they want to talk. Listen to and respect your loved one’s decision as ultimately it is up to them. As breast cancer may cause intimacy issues, it is better to have open communication about it and find out what is comfortable for them. Caregivers should join support groups where they can connect with other caregivers who will not only understand their situation but can also offer them tips and resources to deal with the challenges of caregiving.

To know more click here:
https://www.cancercare.org/publications/48-caregiving_tips_supporting_your_spouse_or_partner_with_breast_cancer

Impact on Relationships

Source: Cancer Care

Breast cancer affects the patient in many different ways. Treatment may change their appearance & how they feel about themselves and their body. This could impact personal relationships and requires changes in self and loved ones.

To read about how to cope with changing feelings, click on the link below
https://www.cancercare.org/publications/88-breast_cancer_coping_with_your_changing_feelings

Cancer Caregiver Videos

A family caregiver’s thoughts: http://blog.caregiversaathi.co.in/gentle-warriors-vandanas-perspective/

A healthcare professional’s thoughts on palliative care and breast cancer: http://blog.caregiversaathi.co.in/compassionate-caring-dr-leena-gangolis-opinion-on-palliative-care/

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