Breast Cancer Awareness + Self Examination Guide

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Image of the Breast cancer ribbon and blog post title

 

October is a month set aside to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. Globally there is a yearly death toll of 41,400 people, out of which 40,920 are women and 480 are men.

This blog post highlights some key questions that people have regarding Breast Cancer. 

What it means, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, risk factors, and preventive methods.

What is breast cancer?

Cancer is an uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells which can destroy body tissues.

Breast cancer is a type of cancerous growth that affects breast tissues.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

It can be diagnosed through a number of ways, some of them are:

Screening: a Self examination and/or Clinical examination, this can either be done at home or in the hospital by a qualified professional.

Biopsy : In this type of diagnosis, a tissue from the suspicious area is collected and tested for cancerous cells.

Mammogram: an X-ray viewing of the breast.

Self Examination

Self Examination should be done once every month, at least 3 – 4 days days after your menstrual cycle. After which if you notice any changes or issues, you should visit your doctor.

The proper way to do a Breast Self Examination

 

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Risk Factors

Some of the factors that increase your risk are:

  • Being a woman
  • Getting older, research shows that women who are above 50 have a higher chance of getting breast cancer.
  • Hereditary; family history of cancer can increase your risks.
  • Personal history of cancer; if you have previous cancer history, you will be at more risk of getting any type of cancer.
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Late pregnancy: Women who give birth after 30, do not breast feed and have never had a full term pregnancy are more at risk.
  • Lack of physical activity; staying fit is important as it boost your immune system and helps reduce risk of cancer.
  • Not maintaining a healthy diet
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Taking hormones and birth control pills.

 

Symptoms

  • Inversion of the nipple
  • Nipple discharge
  • Swelling and irregular sized breasts
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Visible Lymph nodes
  • Redness, thickening of the nipple or breasts.
  • Lumps in the breast

Illustration of some of the symptoms of breast cancer

Note: Some of these symptoms can be caused by other health conditions, so it is important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis.

Is Breast cancer treatable? How?

Yes it can be treated, early detection is very important to surviving cancer.

Some of the possible treatment are :

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Systemic therapy

For more research on how treatments click here

How can one prevent?

  • Eat whole foods.
  • Avoid over processed foods
  • Maintain a healthy weight and diet
  • Don’t Smoke
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption
  • Lessen the dosage and duration of hormonal therapy
  • Limit use of oral contraceptives
  • Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution
  • Use the right gear when being exposed to chemicals and UV rays.

 

Cancer support groups in Ghana

Some of the organizations in Ghana that help provide financial aid, support and assistance to patients are: 

Cancer Support Network of Ghana – @cancersupportnetworkghana

Pink for Africa – @pinkforafrica

Save Ghana Cancer Foundation

Cancer Society of Ghana

Run for a Cure Ghana

 

Note

Let’s make a conscious efforts to examine our breasts constantly as this helps increase early detection. It is also necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

It is also important that we are supportive of people who are going through the pain of cancer.

If and when you can, donate to organizations that work to provide care and relieve for cancer patients.

Link to further resource

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352475

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/risk_factors.htm

https://breastcancernow.org/about-breast-cancer/want-to-know-about-breast-cancer/what-are-the-signs-and-symptoms-of-breast-cancer

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/breast-cancer-prevention/art-20044676

Thank you for reading this blog post, If you think I omitted anything? Do share in the comments.

                    Until next time, Love Beautiful Almond 

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[…] Related Post: Breast Cancer Awareness + B.S.E Guide […]

Ezinne
Guest

I’ve always wanted to know what actually causes breast cancer so I avoided them. Thank you for answering that for me. This is super helpful

Esinam
Guest
Esinam

Thanks for educating us.The article is very informative

Sylvia
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Sylvia

Great blog post! It was very easy to read and understand.. keep up the good work, Jane!