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What You Should Know About Breast Cancer

What You Should Know About Breast Cancer

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Breast Cancer -- by Yip Suting, Guardian Pharmacist

What is breast cancer and is it very common?
Breast cancer occurs when breast cells grow out of control. Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting Singaporean women. However, approximately 90% of breast lumps reported are usually benign (non-cancerous).

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
Breast cancer usually does not present any noticeable symptoms during the early stages. However, any changes in size, shape or appearance around the breast should not be taken lightly. Look out for persistent lumps that feel painful or prickly. Sometimes, the nipple may appear flattened, itch or have some unusual discharge. If any of the symptoms seem unfamiliar to you, see a doctor immediately.

How do I protect myself against breast cancer?
Regular screening is important. From 20 years old onward, conduct monthly self-examinations, around a week after your menses. Women between the ages of 40 to 49 are advised to have a mammogram done on a yearly basis. Go for a mammogram every 2 years once you have reached the age of 50. Though the mammogram screening may be uncomfortable, early detection and subsequent treatment can improve the chances of a cure. In addition, quit smoking and avoid alcohol or, if you must, drink in moderation. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise and eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

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