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For early diagnosis of breast cancer, checking your breasts is very important. This is because it increases the chances of successful treatment. The first sign of breast cancer is a lump or an area with thickened tissue. Breast cancer also develops in men but it is rare.

If you see the following signs, you need to consult your doctor.

A lump on your breast or thickening tissue

If the size of one of the breast changes

Dimpling in the skin of the breast

Inverted nipples

Discharge from the nipple

Swelling in the armpit

Rare pain in the chest. Note: pain is not always an early symptom of cancer.

All lumps are not cancerous, they may be tissue overgrowth or benign cysts.

Diagnosis

The following method can be used to diagnose breast cancer

1. Mammogram: an x-ray of breast tissue.

2. An ultrasound scan of the breast

3. MRI breast scan mostly carried out on younger women.

A biopsy is then done to confirm the diagnosis. A sample of tissue is removed from part of the body and examined under a microscope to find out if there are abnormal cells. This will confirm or rule out the possibility of cancer.

Treatment of Cancer.

The treatment option depends on some factors such as the size and stage of the cancer, the age of the patient and patient’s treatment preference.

Treatment options for breast cancer include:

1. Chemotherapy: this is the use of anti-cancer medicine to kill cancer cells or stop them from multiplying

2. Radiotherapy: is the use of high energy beams of radiation to kill cancer cells or stop them from multiplying.

3. Surgery: can be carried out by removing the tumor if it is not big (lumpectomy) or complete removal of the affected breast (mastectomy).

4. Hormone treatment: this involves the use of oestrogen blockers, aromatase inhibitors and gonadotrophin releasing hormones.


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