January 2021
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Breast Cancer
Cancer du Sein
سرطان الثدي

Breast Cancer

Interview with Dr.

Breast cancer has almost reached "epidemic" proportions in the world. It is the leading non-skin cancer in women, especially in the age group of 50-70 years. It has the second highest death rate, after lung cancer.

With the improvement in health screening, health education, encouragement to pursue a better lifestyle, and newer treatment modalities, more of these cancers are being diagnosed early and treated better. As a result, death rates have fallen by about 25% since the 1980's.

Screening Mammography is an x-ray of the breasts which is mainly done to detect abnormalities of the breast tissue before a lump can actually be felt. Mammograms that are done when a lump is detected are to define a baseline for future reference and to examine the remainder of the affected breast. The technique is not 100% accurate and sometimes has to be augmented by ultrasound examination, especially for younger, denser breasts.

Simple suctioning of cells under local anesthetic into a needle can give information about the type of cells in a lump. The cells are squirted on a slide and stained. A diagnosis can be made within a few hours. This will guide the surgeon to perform a simple excision of the lump if benign cells are seen, or a more radical procedure if malignancy is noted.

The three main steps for the early detection of breast cancer are to:

  1. Carry out breast self-examination monthly from the age of forty
  2. Have a medical checkup once a year with breast examination and a Pap smear as part of a general examination 
  3. Have an annual mammogram from the age of fifty if there are no major risk factors for the disease, but sooner if there are.

Other articles in English

Cervical Cancer
Allergic Rhinitis
International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW)

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