More than 40,000 women die of breast cancer annually in Pakistan. According to an estimate by the WHO it represents 10% of all cancers diagnosed worldwide and constitutes 22% of all new cancers in women making it the most common of its kind. Even though fatal, breast cancer is completely curable. But only under one condition : Early detection.
hen diagnosed early, the survival rates for breast cancer estimate at around 90%.
In the Asian Region, Pakistan alone has one of the highest rates of Breast Cancer. Out of every 90,000 cases diagnosed every year 40,000 end up as fatalities. The probability of a positive breast cancer diagnosis usually increases with age where women of ages above 40 are more at risk.
How You Can Examine
Your Own Self:
A Breast Self Examination or BSE is the first & by far the most important step towards early detection of breast cancer. A BSE involves a few simple steps that you can follow at home to detect any abnormalities or swellings/lumps in your breasts or armpits (the most common areas where breast cancer tumors can appear).
Stand in front of a mirror and examine yourself. Keep your shoulders straight and put your hands on your hips. Your main goal is to observe the overall feel and appearance of your breasts.
Raise your arm up and feel for any abnormalities/lumps in your breasts as well as the area surrounding it. Feel each breast individually (with your Index and Middle finger) in a firm but smooth circular motion.
Make sure to notice any changes in breast Size, Shape or Feel.
Any changes in the nipple shape such as a red/painful nipple or a nipple which seems inverted or embedded into the skin of the breast is NOT normal. Please do not brush off any pain/soreness you feel around your breasts.
This is the most important step. DO NOT IGNORE THE SIGNS OF YOUR BODY. It is always better to be safe than sorry. If you notice any of the above mentioned signs, do no take it lightly. Please book an appointment with your doctor.
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