Home > Blogs > When to Consult a Breast Cancer Specialist?
An oncologist specializes in the clinical and surgical management of cancer. Fortis Hospital Kalyan has some of the leading oncologists in Mumbai on its panel. Our doctors provide a holistic cancer care approach through accurate and timely diagnosis, and advanced medical and surgical care.
Our body generates some warning signs before the onset of a disease. Although breast cancer is usually associated with having a mass or lump in the breast, some cancer patients do not experience the same development. Early warning signs are some of the defining hallmarks of breast cancer and should never be ignored.
These tell-tale signs include swelling of the full breast or only on some parts, lumps in the breast, swelling in the lymph nodes under the arm, dimpling of the breast skin, pain or discharge from the nipples, and redness or skin irritation.
The beginning stage of breast cancer usually manifests as a lump that is generally hard and non-specific in shape. This mass is painless but at times can also be tender to touch and is usually located anywhere between the chest wall and the armpit. Like other diseases, early detection of breast cancer is key to a better chance of survival and treatment options.
In many cases of breast cancer, most women do not have the apparent signs and symptoms at the time of diagnosis, instead, the early signs are usually observed on diagnostic imaging tests such as a mammogram. Tumours in the early stages are not visible to the naked eye and cannot be felt or palpated through the skin, thus making the mammogram an indispensable tool in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. A mammogram or a low dose x-ray of the breast can detect a tumour before it increases in size and causes symptoms.
While some of the most common signs and symptoms of breast cancer vary from person to person, the most observed ones include changes in the appearance, size, colour or presence of lumps in the breast. Invasive breast cancer is more aggressive and can have more specific symptoms such as itchy or irritated breasts, changes in touch such as hardness or tenderness, peeling of the nipple skin, pitting of the breast skin, resembling the skin of an orange.
What can you expect at your breast care appointment?
While it is imperative to have open discussions with your oncologist, knowing everything there is to know about your medical status can help you make important life decisions.
The doctors at Fortis Kalyan tailor each visit to suit the needs of every patient. Along with your vital signs, any existing concerns, medical history and family history, breast history if any will be discussed with the patient. Examination of the breast if needed may or may not include an ultrasound unless specified. If any further treatment is necessary the doctor will discuss the next step which could include a biopsy or a mammogram or will schedule an appointment for a later date after a course of observation.
Can the risk of developing breast cancer be reduced?
The prevention of breast cancer begins with the incorporation of healthy habits, such as limiting the consumption of alcohol and leading a healthy and physically active lifestyle. Although, certain risk factors such as family history cannot be altered lifestyle changes and some precautions can help lower the risk of developing breast cancer.
Our oncology team at Fortis Hospital Kalyan recommend the following changes.
Maintaining a healthy weight
It is not only important to reach your ideal weight but also to maintain it, obesity can lead to a string of health diseases and an ideal weight is essential to keep most of the health conditions at bay.
Being physically active can help maintain a healthy weight and can lead to increased productivity and improved mental health.
Women who consume alcohol daily are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer. It is recommended to not consume more than one drink a day, due to the effect of alcohol on breast cancer risk.
Research has shown that the protective effect of breastfeeding plays an important role in the prevention of breast cancer. Mothers must breastfeed as long as possible to prevent the risk of developing breast cancer.
It is a misconception that all cases of breast cancer are hereditary, but the reality is only 5 to 10% of breast cancer cases are genetic. Leading a healthy lifestyle and modification of certain habits can go a long way in preventing breast cancer in most women.