Tuesday March 26, 2019

Is Mammography Test to Spot Breast Cancer Necessary At All? Find out Here

The experts also recommended MRI, ultrasonography or a biopsy in which breast tissue or fluid is removed for laboratory testing, for younger women

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Breast Cancer
Nano technology offers hope for better cancer testing. Pixabay

A woman under 40, with no known breast cancer risk or visible symptoms of the deadly disease, need not take regular mammography tests, say health experts.

Accordingto the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast, used as a screening tool for the detection of early breast cancer in asymptomatic women.

“If a woman doesn’t have symptoms of breast cancer then regular mammography tests before the age of 40 are not recommended,” Ramesh Sarin, Senior Consultant (Surgical Oncology) at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, told IANS.

If there is any lump in the breast, then mammography should be done.

“Those with increased risk (which is decided by clinician analysing multiple parameters) can begin screening at a younger age around 25-30 years,” added Upasna Saxena, Consultant (Radiation Oncology) from HCG Cancer Centre in Mumbai.

Cancer survivor, Flickr

In mammography, each breast is examined separately and compressed against the film to obtain maximum visualisation of masses or calcifications.

“This helps identify masses or lumps that are smaller than the size that can be felt on examination. Hence, they help in early detection of breast cancers. But at the same time all masses seen on mammography are not cancerous,” Saxena informed.

However, there are various concerns that mammography can be risky due to radiation. But experts noted that mammography uses low energy to take X-Ray of the breast.

“There are no risks which are associated with mammography, even if a woman gets 20-30 mammograms done in her lifetime,” Sarin said.

At the same time, “mammography is to be avoided in pregnant women as the foetus will be at risk even with minimal doses”.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

“If at all required in a pregnant woman, it can be done using a lead shield over the abdomen,” Saxena stressed.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer which affects women in India and, by 2026 the country will witness rise in the breast cancer incidence to 35 per 100,000 women as compared to the present rate of 25.8 per cent, says a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) 2018 report titled “Breast Cancer Landscape in India”.

The cancer burden in India has more than doubled over the last 26 years, the highest increase among all therapy areas, with breast cancer being the most common among Indian women.

However, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) data shows only 9.8 per cent women between the age of 15 and 49 in India have ever undergone breast examination.

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“Mammogram should be supplemented with monthly breast self-examination or breast awareness,” Saxena said, adding that breast self-examination once a month should start by the age of 20 onwards.

The experts also recommended MRI, ultrasonography or a biopsy in which breast tissue or fluid is removed for laboratory testing, for younger women.

“However, these alternatives are not as sensitive as mammography, wherein physical examinations can detect breast cancer only in 60-70 percent of the cases. But mammography can detect breast cancer with 85 per cent accuracy,” Sarin noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Exposure to Dim Light Escalates Breast Cancer’s Spread to Bones

X-ray images showed that mice exposed to a light or dim light cycle had much larger tumours and increased bone damage compared with mice kept in a standard light/dark cycle

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Exposure to dim light at night may contribute to spreading of breast cancer to bones, researchers have shown in an animal study.

When breast cancer spreads it often affects bones, cause severe pain and make them fragile. “To date no one has reported that exposure to dim light at night induces circadian disruption, which increases spread of bone metastatic breast cancer,” said Muralidharan Anbalagan, Assistant Professor, at Tulane University in New Orleans.

The findings were presented at ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans.

For the preliminary study, the team created a mouse model of bone metastatic breast cancer. They injected oestrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer cells, which have a low propensity to grow in bones, into the tibia (shinbone) of female mice.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

Like humans, mice produced a strong night-time circadian melatonin signal, shown to produce strong anti-cancer actions and for promoting sleep.

While one group of mice was kept in the light for 12 hours each day, the other group of three mice in the dark for 12 hours. Another group spent 12 hours in light, followed by 12 hours in dim light at night.

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X-ray images showed that mice exposed to a light or dim light cycle had much larger tumours and increased bone damage compared with mice kept in a standard light/dark cycle, he noted.

“Our research identified the importance of an intact nocturnal circadian melatonin anti-cancer signal in suppressing bone-metastatic breast tumour growth,” Anbalagan said. (IANS)