Breasts are a women’s important asset. They play an important role in a woman’s identity. However, a woman can also experience many problems with her breast. This can lead to much anxiety and stress. The common complaints include breast lump, breast pain and nipple discharge.
The commonest complaint that causes the most anxiety in a woman is the discovery of a breast lump. Majority of the lumps discovered are benign, or non cancerous. Many are result of monthly cyclical changes and no further treatment are required.
This is another common symptom that brings a woman to consult a breast cancer specialist. The possible causes include puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or even menopause. Certain medication can also lead to the breast feeling slight discomfort. However, in general breast pain is NOT a sign of breast cancer.
Cyst form because of fluid collection in breast lobules. There is no definite cause but many believe that it has to do with hormonal changes in the body. Most cysts are ‘simple’ cysts and have no association with breast cancer. Breast cyst can be left alone unless it causes pain and discomfort. In that situation, the cyst cancer be drained by inserting a needle to remove the fluid.
This is main concern of all women when they experienced any breast symptoms. The relative risk of a breast lump turning out to be cancerous ranges from 0.5% for women below 40’s to 3% as the age group increases. The diagnosis can be achieved after mammogram, ultrasound of the breast and biopsy of the lump. Early diagnosis of breast cancer will be life saving as the 5 year survival rate for ductal carcinoma in situ and stage 1 cancer can be as high as 100%. Hence the key is early diagnosis with the help of a breast surgeon and early treatment.
All types of cancer are highly treatable if they are detected early. Breast cancer screening refers to a series of tests that help determine a woman’s risk of developing a specific type of breast cancer, as well as detect signs of cancer even before symptoms start. Such tests not only reduce breast cancer deaths, but also avoid invasive procedures that cause long-term or permanent damage to the body such as chemotherapy or mastectomy. Breast cancer screening in Singapore typically involves a Pap smear and a mammography.