Maintaining good breast health is important for the overall well-being of a woman. Breast health is not just synonymous to keeping ‘Cancer’ at bay, but it is also about dealing with unexplained pain in the breasts or those mysterious lumps which keep appearing and disappearing at will – mostly, making you wonder if you are just over-doing the breast self-examination. Well, be assured you are not imagining either of these discomforts, nor are they related to your periods.
Noted gynaecologist, Dr Priti Vyas says, “Women go through various types of breast discomfort and often shy away from discussing them. Some of them even fear being diagnosed with something critical, which is actually not the case. Every lump that you encounter in your breasts is not cancerous. Stop and take a breath. Before you jump to conclusions it is good to evaluate yourself for other potential disorders of breasts.”
First step towards ensuring well-being of breasts begins with examining yourself for any symptoms or changes in your breasts. Here are some of the most common symptoms which are often overlooked and end up causing a lot of discomfort:
Breast tenderness and pain – which at times may increase in intensity closer to periods
Lumpy, free-moving masses near the armpit
Breast lumps – which fluctuate in size, appear and disappear
Discharge – Green or dark brown non-bloody nipple discharge
The above symptoms could be seen across age-groups, in most cases these could be diagnosed as fibrocystic breast disease or just tiny clusters of calcium. Breast disorders comprise approximately 40 per cent of the reasons for women’s visit to diagnostic centres. Worldwide, nearly 2,00,000 breast disorders are annually diagnosed.
Commenting on the topic, noted gynaecologist, Dr Priti Vyas, said “An estimated 50 per cent of women between the ages of 20 and 50 are the most affected. It does not correlate with an increased risk of breast cancer. It is imperative that women keep track of any changes in the breasts and symptoms. Carrying out self-examination as well as check-ups with a General Physician is suggested in order to have early detection of new lumps.”
Dr Priti Vyas tells us more on the treatment and how to avoid these breast disorders:
1. Importance of wearing a properly fitted and supportive bra – Eases the pain and discomfort
2. Your gynaecologist may prescribe a course of pain relieving medication or birth control pills to help relieve the symptoms
3. Some women find if they eliminate caffeine, lower the amount of salt and saturated fats in their diet, it can help reduce breast tenderness
4. Vitamin E supplements, Evening primrose oil, Dietary Flaxseed can help to reduce breast pain symptoms.
Please see your gynaecologist or a general practitioner if –
- New lump develops in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
Signs mentioned above can be warning signs of breast cancer. Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.