» Getahead » Don't let breast cancer get the better of you

Don't let breast cancer get the better of you

By Dr Ajay Bapna
Last updated on: September 29, 2017 12:32 IST
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It came as a huge surprise when Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 56, who has been famous for her roles in Veep and Seinfeld, announced she has breast cancer in a post on her official Twitter account. "One in eight women get breast cancer. Today, I'm the one," Louis-Dreyfus wrote. 

The actress has just started her fight against all cancers and is trying to build awareness through her social media posts. 

It's true that breast cancer can't be prevented, but some steps can be taken to help detect it early, when the cancer cells are small and haven't spread.

Read on to find out what one can do... 

Julia Louis Dreyfus

IMAGE: After learning she had breast cancer, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus wrote this on Instagram: "1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today I'm the one. The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let's fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality."
Photograph: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Meera (name changed), a bank manager in her late 30s, discovered a lump in her left breast while bathing in the morning. She ignored it as the lump was not causing her any pain.

She went to a physician for a general check-up after a few months.

During a mammographic screening, she was diagnosed with second-stage breast cancer.

The doctors told her she would have had a better chance of survival if she had come earlier for treatment.


Breast cancer develops from breast duct tissues and is one of the most common cancers among females.

Pregnancy after 30, no breastfeeding, obesity, late menopause, early onset of menstruation, smoking and alcohol consumption majorly contribute to the risk factors of breast cancer.

Symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast, change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid excretion from the nipple or a red scaly patch of skin.

In those with a distant spread of the disease, there may be bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, shortness of breath or yellow skin.

Almost all breast cancer patients in India are detected with the disease when it is at an advanced stage.

Tina Sharma and Mary Ann DAchille, two of the breast cancer survivors who walked the ramp for Premal Badiani.

IMAGE: Breast cancer survivors Tina Sharma and Mary Ann DAchille walked the ramp at the New York Fashion Week last week. Photograph: Kind courtesy @makingstridescentralpark/Instagram

Breast cancer can't be prevented, but some steps can be taken to help detect it early, when the cancer cells are small and haven't spread.

It is also easier to treat it successfully in the early stages.

Mammography is the most important screening test for detection of breast cancer.

The breasts are x-rayed to detect tumours even before they can be felt.

It is also important to know the signs and symptoms so that any time an abnormality is discovered, it can be investigated by a health care professional at the earliest.

To detect abnormalities in breasts, it is essential for adult women of all ages to perform a self examination five days after menstruation.

They can use the fingertips to check for lumps or hardened knots.

In case of any abnormalities, they shouldn't waste any time in consulting a health care provider.

These steps can help detect breast cancer early and prevent cancerous cells from spreading further.

Dr Ajay Bapna is senior consultant and head of department, medical oncology department, Bhagwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital, Jaipur.

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Dr Ajay Bapna
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