SABCA Foundation, a fiscally sponsored project of United Charitable Programs - a registered 501(c)(3) public charity
Breast Self Examination:
This includes regular and systematic palpation of the breast by a woman herself to assess for any abnormality. After age of 20 years, a woman must regularly do a BSE, and must be evaluated by a clinician, at least once every few years. Up to the age of 40, this is all that is needed.
The aim of a BSE is to familiarize a women with her breasts which will help in early detection of any abnormality. Ideally, after age of twenty, BSE must be done by a lady once at least every month. And at least once a year, a clinical breast examination by a medical professional should be done. These are only guidelines, and may not always be feasible for a normal person.
The best time to do a BSE is during a bath, which will give a woman a reasonable time to be alone with herself and concentrate on detection. Being familiar and aware of the characteristics of the breast will allow a woman to pick up an abnormality early.
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An annual mammogram is advised after a woman crosses 40 years of age. If mammogram is normal, screening continues every year.
Following a clinical examination a Biopsy is the only definite way of confirming or ruling out breast cancer in suspected cases. A piece of breast tissue is taken for testing; this can be done by inserting a needle into the Breast (FNAC-fine needle aspiration cytology), or by an operation under local or general anesthesia. A pathologist then examines the breast tissue under the microscope to check for cancer cells.
Remember early detection is the key.