YNF Exclusive: Interview with Dr. Rajeshwari SN, Specialist Gynecologist at Aster Clinic

Oct 03 2017

It’s October, that month of the year, where we delve into various facts, myths and misconceptions related to breast cancer while we try to seek and impart as much knowledge as we can.

Your Neighbourhood Flash (YNF) in association with Aster DM Healthcare brings to you a special two-part series on Breast Cancer Awareness, where we simplify the facts related to the disease, enabling you to be alert and aware while coping up with the situation in a better manner. In an exclusive interview with YNF, Dr. Rajeshwari SN, Specialist Gynecologist at Aster Clinic, Ras Al Khaimah has shared vital information regarding the importance of regular self-breast examination, how to identify the symptoms, immediate steps to be taken and significance of October month for Breast Cancer Awareness. Breast cancer can be cured if detected and treated during initial stages. Hence, it is extremely important for women to know what their breasts look and feel like normally. This enables them to differentiate in case of any changes. However, irrespective of the age, women should be aware of their body and its changes.

Importance of Self-Breast Examination

Women across all age groups are susceptible to Breast Cancer but women over the age of 40 are more vulnerable to the disease. Diagnosing breast regularly in women under 40 years of age is difficult because the breast tissue during that age is much denser than in older women. Regular self- breast examination is one of the useful methods of detecting breast cancer early. Self-examination helps women understand their breasts from its look and feel. Commenting on the importance of Breast Examination, Dr. Rajeshwari explains, “Self-breast examinations must be done once a month and can be done by women in their 20’s as well. During the teens, women tend to feel lumps in the breast, which is quite normal as the breasts are developing and the lumps normally disappear on their own gradually. However, if the lump gets bigger in size or causes pain/discomfort, it is better to consult a specialist in order to understand the cause.”

Self-breast examination should be done by women whose breasts are fully developed (post adolescence). Beginning the practice early will help women create a habit out of it and they will become much more familiar with their breasts and can address any changes that the breast undergoes. The self-examination should be done after the days of mensuration as during those days the breasts tend to be swollen. At a younger age, regular examination at frequent intervals is recommended in order to rule out any health condition.

Changes to look for during the Self-Breast Examination

The purpose of doing a self-breast examination is to understand what is normal for the breast. The changes that a woman should look for during a self-examination are;

A lump Discharge from the nipple
Change in the size of breasts
Changes in the skin around the nipple
Skin irritation discolouration or redness

The primary goal of self-breast examination is to familiarize women with their breasts in order to be able to understand any abnormalities.

First symptoms of Breast Cancer

Symptoms of breast cancer differ and vary from person to person. Sometimes the condition may not depict any visible symptoms. The most common symptom of breast cancer is the feeling of a lump in the breast.

The other possible symptoms of breast cancer are;

Swelling in the breast
Skin irritation
Nipple turning inward
Thickening of nipple
Discharge of blood or a clear liquid from the nipple
Breast lump or lump in the area of the underarm

Immediate steps to be taken

The immediate steps on observing any of the aforementioned symptoms is to visit a specialist and get the necessary tests done as per recommendation.These are not definitive symptoms of breast cancer and may be caused due to other reasons. However, any visible symptoms such as these should be reported to a specialist. Regular screenings are important for early detection. A specialist may be able to detect any symptoms of breast cancer before observing any visible ones.

Significance of October Month

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an awareness activity that began to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer. Ever since a variety of events have been organized around the world in the month of October in order to create awareness about breast cancer and aid early detection of the condition. A pink ribbon symbolizes support towards the cause. In the next part of this special series, we will explore the role of family and support groups in helping the patients to cope with the situation and sail through the treatment with determination and grit.


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