Breast Cancer Awareness Month: How to Conduct A Breast Self-Exam?

Breast Cancer is obviously dreadful, and the scare of getting a BRCA 1 mutation is real for any woman. Every year, the month of October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month worldwide. Today, let’s talk about the Breast Self-exam and how essential it is for your overall well being. Doing routine breast examinations on your own is strongly recommended for women of all ages. Early discovery and intervention of Breast Cancer raise the chances of treating it favourably.

So here we are going to answer some frequently asked questions about this disease, which will help you comprehend everything you need to know about Breast Self-Examination.

How Should You Check Your Breast?

Each woman should closely examine how their breast look and feel regularly. When you know your breast well, it becomes simpler to spot any sudden changes in them. The easiest method to conduct routine breast self-checks is when you’re bathing. Take your time to observe your breast, armpits closely, including your collarbone regions. It is also necessary to double-check by viewing your breast in the mirror, as you can sometimes detect changes that you may not necessarily feel. They can be changes in the shape or size of the breast.

What Indications Should You Look Out For?

Generally, you need to check for any unusual changes to your breast. These changes can be a lump, abnormalities in the size or shape of your breast, changes to the outline of your nipples, any sort of thickening in the breast or painful knots.

It is crucial to note that there could be slight variations to your breast depending on changes to your hormone levels or other imbalances due to your menstrual cycle. Heaviness, softness, itchiness, and darkening of your nipples are all changes that might occur due to PMS or pregnancy. So, if you notice any such changes to your breast, the first thing to do is not to panic and jump to any hasty conclusions. 

Secondly, you must go and consult your gynecologist as soon as possible.

What If You Find A Lump in your breast?

Most women have lumps in their breast that mostly seem benign (non-cancerous). So, if you do feel a lump in your breast, do not panic. Simply book an appointment and discuss with your doctor, as we mentioned earlier. The chances are that the lump is benign and nothing to worry about. But it’s always a wise decision to be safe and do the right thing to get precise answers, rather than stressing over it. 

What Is the BRCA Gene and How Dangerous it is?

The name ‘BRCA’ is an acronym for ‘BReast CAncer gene.’ BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two separate genes that impact a person’s (especially a woman’s) odds of developing breast cancer.

Every person has both the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Despite what their titles might suggest, BRCA genes do not cause cancer. In fact, these genes generally play a vital role in preventing breast cancer. Instead, they assist in repairing DNA breaks that can lead to cancer and the unchecked growth of tumours. Hence, the BRCA genes are known as tumour suppressor genes.

However, these tumour suppression genes do not work properly in some people. When a gene is broken, it doesn’t function correctly. This is known as a gene mutation.

BRCA Mutations

A small section of people (approximately one in 400, or 0.25% of the population) carries mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. A BRCA mutation occurs when the DNA that makes up the gene becomes disabled somehow.

When a BRCA gene is mutated, it may become ineffective at repairing broken DNA. Hence, people with a BRCA gene mutation are more likely to develop breast cancer and that too, at a younger age. The bearer of the mutated gene can also pass a gene mutation down to their offspring.

BRCA Mutation Risks

According to a study, about one in 8 women, or 12% of all females, will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

However, women with specific genetic mutations have a greater lifetime risk of the disease. Approximately 55 – 65% of women with the BRCA1 mutation will generate breast cancer before age 70.

And about 45% of women with a BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70.

Females with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation overcome their breast cancer with treatment seem to have a higher-than-average chance of developing second cancer. However, cancers related to a BRCA1 mutation are also more probable to be triple-negative breast cancer, which can be more fierce and challenging to treat.

You may find the statistics alarming. However, it’s essential to note that less than 10% of women diagnosed with this cancer have a BRCA mutation. So, with early detection, a vast majority of breast cancer cases can be successfully treated—and that’s valid even for people who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

Can Men Get Breast Cancer?

Surprisingly, yes. Both men’s and women’s bodies have breast tissue in their bodies, which signifies that men are prone to getting cancer in the chest area. Although uncommon in males, Breast Cancer does impact 1 in 675 men. If you’re a male and notice any unusual changes in your chest muscles and tissues, please consult a doctor immediately.

A point to note is that anyone can get Breast Cancer. Unfortunately, we can’t put only older women in this category. So, whether you’re a young female, older woman or a man, being watchful and proactive is the most suitable way to detect Breast Cancer early and treat it. WeCare Health Medical Centre offers Breast Cancer Screening at affordable prices. To find out more, get in touch with our experts at 02 6324 6688

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