Let's be very loud and clear - the numbers of breast cancer are rising fast - there is no second doubt about that. Like we said earlier, if breast cancer has to happen, it will happen - there is not much we can do to change that (except some lifestyle changes). But what we can very much change is - catch it early. In other words, we cannot prevent breast cancer from happening, but we can catch it early. Let us answer a few questions:
Can we detect breast cancer early? Yes, absolutely. All that is reqauired is 'awareness'. A lady needs to be aware of what are the symptoms of breast cancer, and keep checking herself regularly. There are certain guidelines which we have discussed in this section.
Will an early detection make a difference? OF COURSE! The earlier we detect a breast cancer, the higher is the cure rate. Early breast cancer has a very high chance of cure (and survival); advanced breast cancer has poor survival rate.
Do i need some tests to detect it early? No, most important is your own brain and your hand. You need to #teach your brain and #train your hands. Of course, mammography also plays a role, but most important is your own 'awareness' of breast cancer.
Let us first understand how and why it is necessary to 'be aware' of the symptoms of breast cancer to detect it early.
There are two images below. You have to answer question after seeing the image just for a second. Remember, just glance at the image for one second and then answer.
You will see letter 'N', you are right. Now see the next image.
You will see both letters N and M, right? It is quite evident.
Go back to the first image, and look carefully. There is one 'M' also, hidden in between all the 'N's. Some might have noticed, but I am sure a majority of you would not have noticed the single 'M' within the N's. But when I told you that there is an M, you could locate it. Basically, it means, 'when your brain did not expect', you could not see it. But the moment 'your brain was taught something' - that there is an M also, in the first image - it could see it. There is a saying which all Medical students are familiar with - What the mind does not know, the eyes cannot see. Or, to apply the statement in context of Breast Cancer Awareness, What the mind does not know, the hands cannot feel.
Breast Self Examination is done by feeling the breast tissue with the opposite hand (it is explained later in another section). Most women do not even do a Breast Self Examination. And of those who do, many do not really know what are they looking out for. From the above example, what we are trying to tell you is - if you 'teach you brain' about the symptoms of breast cancer (there are barely 5 or 6 symptoms of breast cancer which you have to understand and remember) and 'train your hands' to look out for those symptoms regularly (which your brain already knows), then you will DEFINITELY be able to detect very small lumps or irregularities which may be cancerous and which you, otherwise, would not have noticed, if you did not know what to look out for. So, the moral is - #teach your brain #train your hands. Your life is in your hands. This is called 'Breast Awareness'.
The single most important symptom, of both cancer and non cancerous breast conditions - is a 'lump' or a 'knot' in the breast. However, we realize that many women actually do not know what is this lump and how to look out for one. We suggest you to surely read the topic 'What is a Breast Lump' (All links are there below). You can also read the section on Symptoms of Breast Cancer and Early Detection Guidelines. Apart from cancer, there are many non cancerous conditions of the breast, some of the commonest ones are included below - Non Cancerous Lumps, Breast Pain, Nipple Discharge and Skin Changes.