Safe way of detecting Breast Cancer

As you all must be already aware that October is recognized as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There has been a recent increase in the number of people suffering from this cancer. 

Worldwide, breast cancer comprises 10.4% of all cancer incidence among women, making it the most common type of non-skin cancer in women and the fifth most common cause of cancer death. In 2004, breast cancer caused 519,000 deaths worldwide (7% of cancer deaths; almost 1% of all deaths). – Wikipedia

Thus, it is very important for every woman and even males to be aware of their susceptibility to breast cancer. An earlier diagnosis is always helpful for timely treatment. Thus, comes the need for screening. Screening is the term used for testing healthy women and men for achieving earlier diagnosis. There are many screening tests – self examination, mammography, genetic screening, ultrasound and magnetic resonance.
A self-examination is most critical of all and should be done regularly to make sure there are no lumps in the breasts. You can do this in the privacy of your home. Start with one breast. Lift the corresponding hand up and feel your breast with the other hand. This method is called palpitation meaning feeling the firmness of the object. While examining this way feel for the presence of any lumps or soreness. Cover your complete breast while standing and while lying down and other positions as shown in the picture including the nipple region and the skin around and under your breasts. This can be done in various ways like vertically drawing straight lines on your breasts with your fingers, moving outward starting from the nipples or moving in concentric circles starting form the nipples. Repeat the procedure with the other breast. In case of any confusion, immediately seek doctor’s advice. (Note: The picture is not to offend anyone’s senses but to impart awareness.)
Mammography is another screening test. Unfortunately, in this technique, your body is exposed to low dose X-rays for proper diagnosis of the disease. And, a repeated exposure to radiations, however, low is a potential risk associated with this diagnosis technique. And, then, there are added risks of false positives and false negatives where you might be detected for breast cancer when you are not suffering from the disease and you might not be detected for breast cancer when you are suffering. This is, often, due to the density of tissues present in the breasts. Thus, many people would like to avoid this technique of detection. Here is an account of Mammogram experience of Sesame from Vivawoman.
Thus, there are recent advances and a new diagnosis technique for any disease has come into picture –
Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI). In this technique, images of the body are taken (called thermograms) and sent to medical practitioners for interpretation of the images and diagnosis results. Thus, you are not subjected to any radiation, however, small. It is being used for small clinical uses and among them the foremost usage is for early breast cancer detection. And, in this, the physical images of your body are not taken. To explain what kind of images are taken, I would need to delve deeper into the technique. Our body emits infrared radiation which is highly symmetric to the parts of our body as shown in the picture. So, a special camera is used to capture this radiation being emitted from the body and corresponding skin surface temperature and displayed on a screen where the amount of radiation being emitted is shown in various colors. Any change in the radiation or temperature is, thus, detected by the change in color. This is just a gist of how this technique works. The benefit of this technique is that it can detect early lesions but the drawback is that it is not widely available. I would encourage you to read this article which shares the experience of lady who went for DITI.

A note to my readers: If anyone has gone through any such tests and experiences, I would kindly request you to share your experiences. If you would like to publish an account (even anonymously), please feel free to mail at Awareness can prevent breast cancers. And, do not forget to force your women above 40 for a breast cancer screening. It can be a life saver.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge