Let’s start off by reflecting on an important statistic: 109 women die every 24 hours due to breast cancer in Pakistan. Over 40,000 deaths a year with an addition of 90,000 new breast cancer cases annually is a matter of serious concern. This is why it is critical to raise breast cancer awareness by emphasizing the importance of early detection through regular screenings (like mammograms) and self-examinations. When breast cancer is detected early, it is often more treatable and the chances of survival are significantly higher.
This year, Social Diary Magazine is aiming to destigmatize discussions around the disease specifically when it comes to men playing a strong role in voicing support for women in their lives. Open conversations about breast health can reduce fear and anxiety associated with breast cancer, making it easier for individuals to seek help and support. It is important to boost awareness which will lead to greater public support for breast cancer research and treatment. This can result in more funding for research initiatives, leading to advancements in prevention, early detection, and treatment methods. Encouraging awareness provides people with knowledge about risk factors, preventive measures, and early signs of breast cancer. This empowers individuals to take proactive steps towards their own health and well-being.
Who Can Get Breast Cancer:
Breast cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. However, certain factors can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Gender: While breast cancer can affect both males and females, it is much more common in women.
Age: The risk of breast cancer increases with age. The majority of cases occur in women over the age of 50, but younger women can also develop breast cancer.
Family History: Individuals with a family history of breast cancer, especially close relatives like a mother, sister, or daughter, have a higher risk.
Radiation Exposure: Previous exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation, especially at a young age, can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Reproductive Factors: Women who have never had children or who had their first child after the age of 30 may have a slightly higher risk.
Lifestyle Factors: Factors like excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, lack of physical activity, and a diet high in saturated fats have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
Environmental Factors: While the exact impact of environmental factors is still being studied, exposure to certain chemicals and pollutants may play a role.
Here’s How You’ll Do a Self-Examination:
Choose a regular time: It’s recommended to perform a self-exam once a month, ideally a few days after your menstrual period when breasts are less likely to be tender or swollen.
In front of a mirror:
Stand in front of a mirror with your hands on your hips.
Look for changes in the size, shape, or position of your breasts.
Check for any changes in the skin, like dimpling, puckering, or redness.
Raise your arms:
Raise your arms above your head and look for the same changes as in step 2.
Lie down on a flat surface, such as a bed or a couch.
Use your right hand to examine your left breast and vice versa.
Use the pads of your fingers (not the tips) to press firmly in small circular motions, covering the entire breast and armpit area.
Make sure to cover the breast in an up-and-down pattern and side-to-side pattern.
Check for lumps or thickening
What you need to look out for:
Pay attention to any unusual lumps, hard knots, or thickened areas.
Note the location, size, shape, and texture of any abnormality.
Check your nipples: Look for any changes, such as a change in direction, discharge, or inversion.
Repeat on the other breast.