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A Consultant Family Physician with the General Hospital, Ijede, Dr. Oluwaseun Ayodeji Jegede, has revealed that early detection of breast cancer could aid its total remission and reduce the rate of mortality from the disease.
Dr. Jegede disclosed on Friday during a chat with correspondents as part of activities organised by the hospital to mark the Y2021 World Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
He defined cancer as abnormal cells that proliferate in an abnormal and deregulated fashion, adding that breast cancer is a type of cancer that originates from breast tissues known as the ‘ducts’ and the ‘lobules’.
According to him, the role of early detection in the treatment of breast cancer cannot be overemphasised, stressing that it is also cost-effective and could easily be managed through surgery and chemotherapy to achieve total remission, thereby preventing both microscopic and macroscopic spread to other tissues.
While informing women of reproductive age to know their body well, especially when there is a very strong family history of gynaecological tumours, the Physician noted that as soon as the breast is fully developed, every female should endeavour to perform a self-breast examination in front of a full mirror by looking out for any change in size, shape, structure of the nipples and the skin.
He maintained that the nipples could be gently pressed to look out for any discharge and the hand should be used in concentric circles, starting from the nipple at the centre to as far as the armpit, to check for lumps or tenderness in the breast.
The Consultant said associated predisposing factors of breast cancer include genetic factors, genetic mutations with oestrogen receptors, age, early menarche, late menopause, inadequate breastfeeding, obesity, large breast tissue, previous history of breast lump, unhealthy food, alcohol, exposure to ionizing radiations, hormone replacement therapies in postmenopausal women, prolonged use of estrogen-containing contraceptives and previous history of breast cancer, among others.
The Family Physician affirmed that signs and symptoms to watch out for include pain in the breast or armpit, lump in the breast, skin changes, an inverted nipple or everted nipple, nipple discharge, breast ulcer and in advanced stages, there could be loss of appetite, weight loss and persistent anaemia (low blood level).
Dr. Jegede informed that, worldwide, about one in eight women (about 13%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime while an estimated 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women and 49,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
“Although the standard age for the use of mammograms as a screening tool is 40 years, in recent times the age of onset of breast cancer has been dropping. Therefore, some schools of thought have been advocating for 35 years, especially if there is a strong family history of breast cancer and other gynaecological tumours such as fallopian tube tumours, ovarian tumour and endometrial tumour”. Dr. Jegede stated.