Breast Cancer Information and Awareness

One out of eight women may be diagnosed with breast cancer BUT eight out of eight women can become aware of breast cancer. Women can make a difference in their lives and subsequently their family lives, by taking charge of their health by creating an early detection plan. Early detection of breast cancer when smaller and still confined to the breast can ensure thousands of lives are saved each year.

Bergman Ross & Partners Radiology supports women’s health and, in particular, breast cancer awareness. Their comprehensive range of radiological services includes general x rays, ultrasound, mammography, bone mineral densitometry, fluoroscopy, CT, MRI, MRI Breast as well as breast biopsies (core and stereotactic). At BRP, mammogram examinations routinely include a breast ultrasound thereby minimising risk and assisting in the preventative process in women. Tomosynthesis can also be done if required.

Suggested personal care includes the following:

  • Performing monthly routine self-breast examinations.
  • Ensuring annual clinical breast examinations as well as a pap smear test if 40 years and older.
  • Scheduling preventative screening which includes an annual mammogram. (Ultrasound may be done in conjunction with this study.)

What every woman needs to know:

  •  One out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death amongst women.
  • Men can also get breast cancer, but this is rare.
  • Thanks to more advanced treatments, many of those diagnosed with breast cancer will go on to live full, active lives.
  • Early detection is important as treatments can be more effective.
  • One of the easiest ways to detect for breast cancer is the breast self exam, a physical examination of your own breast.
  • By getting to know how your breasts look and feel is an added defence against dying of breast cancer.

 

1Risk factors for breast cancer:

  • Family history of breast cancer, colon cancer and cancer of the womb.
  • Smoking.
  • First pregnancy over the age of 30 and never breast fed.
  • Never had children.
  • Premature menopause.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Changes in the shape of the breast or persistent discomfort.
  • A small lump or thickening of the breast.
  • Discharge from the nipple that occurs without squeezing.
  • Irritation or dimpling of the skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in nipple area.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

2

Can you be at risk?

  • Most women should have their first mammogram at the age of 40.
  • If you have any changes in your breast or if breast cancer runs in your family, you might have to have a mammogram earlier than the age of 40.
  • In extreme cases, we may have to do mammograms on patients younger than 35 but this is a rare occurrence and ultrasound will be the preferred method of examination due to the patient’s age and denseness in breast tissue.

5

What is breast cancer?

  • Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast.
  • A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that grow into surrounding tissue or spreads (metastasize) to distant areas of the body.
  • With early detection and treatment, most people can live normal lives.

4Breast self exam (BSE)

  • Women over the age of 20 should perform breast self examination:
  • Two to three days after their menstrual cycle.
  • On the same day each month if you no longer have a menstrual cycle.
  • Monthly BSE familiarizes you with the way your breasts normally look and feel and thus changes are easily noticeable.

Breast self examination standing:

3Breast self examination lying down:

  • With a pillow or towel under your left shoulder, place your left hand behind your head to flatten the breast tissue.
  • Examine your entire breast in the circular motion using the pads of the three middle fingers.
  • With your right hand behind your head, repeat the procedure with your right breast. Also gently squeeze each nipple to check for discharge.

What is a mammogram?

  • A mammogram is a radiological examination allowing breast problems to be detected whether they are benign abnormalities or developing tumors.
  • Most women should have their first mammogram at the age of 40. If you have any changes in your breast or if breast cancer runs in your family, you may have to have a mammogram earlier than 40. In extreme cases mammograms may be performed on patients younger than 35. However, ultrasound is the preferred modality due to patients age and denseness in the breast tissue. Remember to bring your previous mammogram on the day of your examination. Remember not to wear any powder, deodorant or perfume on the day of your mammogram

For more information…

Further information on the practice and breast cancer awareness please contact the friendly reception at Bergman, Ross & Partners Radiologists on 021 110 5777 for further assistance and bookings. Suite 306, 3rd Floor, The Point Centre, 76 Regent Rd, Sea Point.