Breast Cancer Screening in India- Clinical, Self and Mammograms

November 10, 2023 Cancer Hub 108 Views

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Breast Cancer Screening in India- Clinical, Self and Mammograms

Common recommendations for breast cancer screening include:

  • Breast Self-Exams (BSE): Women are often encouraged to perform regular breast self-exams to become familiar with the normal look and feel of their breasts. This can be done monthly, usually a few days after the end of the menstrual period for premenopausal women or on a specific day each month for postmenopausal women.
  • Clinical Breast Exams (CBE): A clinical breast exam performed by a healthcare professional is typically recommended every 1-3 years for women in their 20s and 30s. After the age of 40, it might be recommended annually.
  • Mammograms: The timing and frequency of mammograms can depend on factors such as age, risk factors, and individual health history. Generally, women at average risk are advised to start mammograms at age 40 and repeat them annually or every two years. Women with a higher risk may start screening earlier and may need more frequent exams.

Women must discuss their individual risk factors and health history with their doctors, as this information can influence the personalised recommendations for breast cancer screening. ( Know more about- What is Breast Cancer Treatment? )

What are Clinical Breast Exams (CBE) ?

A Clinical Breast Exam (CBE) is a physical examination of the breasts performed by a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or nurse. During a CBE, the healthcare provider examines the breasts and surrounding areas to detect any changes, lumps, or abnormalities that may indicate breast cancer or other breast conditions.

Here’s what typically happens during a Clinical Breast Exam at breast cancer screening:

  • Visual Examination: The healthcare provider visually inspects the breasts for changes in size, shape, or skin texture. They may look for changes in the nipples, such as inversion or discharge.
  • Manual Examination: The healthcare provider uses their fingers and hands to feel for lumps or abnormalities in the breast tissue. They may use different levels of pressure and various hand movements to thoroughly examine the entire breast, including the armpit area (axillary region) where lymph nodes are located.
  • Discussion: The healthcare provider may ask questions about any symptoms, changes, or concerns the individual may have about their breast health. They may also inquire about family history and other risk factors for breast cancer.

Clinical Breast Exams are one component of a comprehensive breast cancer screening strategy. The frequency with which breast cancer screening and CBE is recommended can vary based on factors such as age, risk factors, and individual health history. ( Know more about- What is Cervical Cancer ? )

How efficient is breast cancer screening in detecting breast cancer ?

Breast cancer screening has been shown to be effective in detecting breast cancer at earlier, more treatable stages, and it has contributed to a reduction in breast cancer mortality rates. However, the effectiveness of screening can vary based on the method used and individual factors.

  • Mammography: Mammograms are a common screening tool for breast cancer. They are X-ray images of the breast tissue and are effective in detecting tumors that are too small to be felt. Mammography has been shown to reduce mortality by detecting breast cancer early. However, it is not perfect, and false positives (indicating cancer when there is none) and false negatives (missing cancer that is present) can occur.
  • Clinical Breast Exam (CBE): While CBE is a useful tool for detecting breast abnormalities, it may not be as sensitive as mammography. The effectiveness of CBE can be influenced by the skill and experience of the healthcare provider conducting the exam.
  • Breast Self-Exams (BSE): Breast self-exams, where individuals check their own breasts for changes or abnormalities, are encouraged for awareness, but they are not a standalone method for breast cancer screening. Research has shown that relying solely on BSE is not as effective as a combination of mammography and clinical breast exams.

Regular breast cancer screenings, along with awareness and early detection, remain essential components of breast cancer prevention and improved outcomes. One must get cancer screenings and regular full body checkups at H N Reliance Hospital Mumbai done. 

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