Tuesday January 21, 2020

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

70 Lakh Women Screened for Breast Cancer Under Ayushman Bharat: Smriti Irani

Irani also said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Democratic Alliance-government was the first in the country, which not only set targets but also achieve it before the deadline

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Smriti Irani
Smriti Irani. Facebook

Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, more than 70 lakh women have undergone screening for breast cancer, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said on Saturday.

Irani was in Goa to launch a new health kit, launched by the Goa government’s Women and Child Ministry, which will help diagnose breast cancer and other medical ailments in association with Anganwadi workers.

“70 lakh women have screened for breast cancer through Ayushman Bharat scheme,” Irani said, adding that 30 lakh women across India have been screened for cervical cancer under the national universal health care scheme.

Breast cancer pink ribbon
Breast cancer survival rates are rising as screening and treatment improve. Pixabay

Irani also said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Democratic Alliance-government was the first in the country, which not only set targets but also achieve it before the deadline.

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“No one had thought that there would be a government at the Centre which will not just announce schemes, but will also achieve targets ahead of the deadline of 2020. Take the Ujjwala Yojana for example for which the target was providing free gas cylinders for five crore women. I am happy that today when we see Ujwala Yojana numbers, in just three years eight crore poor women have got clean fuel,” Irani also said. (IANS)