Dr. Shelly Sharma
Oncoradiologist, Breast Radiologist
MBBS, DNB( Radiodiagnosis ). Observorship in Breast Imaging , Mayo Clinic, USA. Fellowship in Ultrasound guided Tumor ablation , Samsung Medical Centre, South Korea. Fellowship in onco radiology , National Cancer Centre, Singapore.
( 2 Mins. Read)
Breasts are an integral part of a women’s body. Yet most of us are ignorant about our breasts and how to take care of these. We at DoctorMinutes believe that you yourself are the best judge of your body and health. By knowing how it feels normally you can assess whenever there is a deviation from normal and seek treatment for the same. In this article we have summarized how to take care of your breasts by a simple three step approach-
When in your 20’s – You should start doing a self breast examination or regularly examining your breasts and underarm area every month preferably at same time of the month. It involves seeing your breasts by standing in front of a mirror and palpating in standing and lying down positions. This makes you aware of how the normal breasts look and feel and you can pick up an abnormality earlier. You can then seek timely medical intervention. Do not hesitate to seek medical advise for your symptoms however minor they seem to you. The doctor may suggest certain breast imaging tests to be done. You should seek an explanation for your symptoms and do not shy away from seeking a second opinion if you are not satisfied by the answers.
When in your 30’s – Add in an annual clinical breast examination by a qualified doctor / gynecologist. The doctor will palpate the breasts and underarm area and may address concerns you may have about your breasts. This can be clubbed with your doctor visit for annual medical examination.
When in your 40’s – Once you turn 40 years of age a mammography examination can be done once every year, in addition to clinical and self breast examinations.
Ensure to get a digital mammography done preferably from a centre with a qualified breast radiologist, who may recommend follow up or further examination/ tests if required. If your annual mammography results are normal, you should continue getting mammograms done every year. Carry all your previous examinations and test reports and films with you, these help the radiologist in picking up early abnormalities in your breasts and helps them make a better diagnosis.
In case the mammography results are abnormal, do not panic, it only means the radiologist is not satisfied with what is seen on mammography and needs further tests to clarify. Sometimes you may be asked to come back after certain time interval usually after 6 months for follow up examination.
These three steps may help you find breast cancer at early stages when treatment is usually the most successful.
This information is for general guidance and reflects the opinions and experience of the author. It is not intended to replace specialist consultation or provide treatment advice for specific cases.