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Young? You're Still At Risk From Breast Cancer

Saturday, February 04, 2012
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Young? You're Still At Risk From Breast Cancer

It was only a month later, when the lump had still not gone away and after much urging from her husband, that she decided to visit the doctor. Her nipples were also inverted -- a symptom the significance of which she realized only when the oncologist at Manipal Hospital berated her for not coming in earlier.

"Waiting for the biopsy results was the worst period of my life. I was filled with anxiety -- for my family, for my 3-year-old child, for myself. I remember thinking, 'This is not possible,' " she reminisces.

Kamala's results confirmed her most dreaded fear -- she was diagnosed with Stage III cancer, which had spread to a few lymph nodes as well. She opted for a second opinion, but the answer stayed the same.

An aggressive round of treatments began. Three months of chemotherapy to shrink the large tumor were followed by a radical mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction.

Post surgery, Kamala's life was in turmoil. "There were so many questions running through my mind," she recalls. "Will my husband find me attractive with these scars? What if I want to have another child -- will I be able to?"



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User Comments

12 December, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar This study suggests that reducing starch consumption could possibly reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence

Read more:

06 June, 2011 | poorni | Reply

poorni my mother & some from her family are detected of cance3r. I'm 15 years old & my teacher says that the next generation of mine are more vurnarable to this.. is it true?? if yes what can i do to bring down the risk of this??

16 October, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain Dear Shailja,
American Cancer Society recommends following screening guidelines for breast cancer:
-Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health
-Clinical breast exam (CBE) about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over
-Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care provider. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.

It also recommends that some women ,because of their family history, genetic tendency, or certain other factors ,be screened with MRI in addition to mammograms. Talk with your doctor about your history and whether you should have additional tests at an earlier age.

Thank you for your query.

Kanika Jain

16 October, 2010 | Shailja Chaudhary | Reply

Shailja Chaudhary By what age women should start getting screened for breast cancer?

16 October, 2010 | Akriti Singh | Reply

Akriti Singh With the rising number of cases of breast cancer, it is important to get regular screening done from early age. It would felicitate early and timely detection and help in treatment. Also, its important to maintain a healthy weight throughout life. This would reduce risk of not only breast cancer but many other chronic lifestyle disorders too.

02 October, 2010 | Rajani | Reply

Rajani My family has a strong history of cancer, my mother and her siblings (most of them) have been detected with cancer, two of them survived while the other 4 did not. I am 30 yrs old, does this mean I have to start the screening for cancer at this age itself, also will it be good for all my cousins to undergo a cancer screening once a year?

02 October, 2010 | Mrinal | Reply

Mrinal Dear Rajani,
I am sorry to hear about the incidence of cancer in your mothers family.

This does increase your risk factor to a higher level. Please do contact your primary physician or gynecologist as soon as possible for advice on appropriate screening and testing for you right now as well as going forward.

You can encourage your cousins as well to do the same.

With regards to nutrition - you can reduce your risks by improving your diet and participating in regular - moderate to high exercise that keeps you fit.
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts and low in saturated fats and prepared foods should also contribute to a healthier body.

Good luck, and feel free to ask our dietitians for advice on eating healthier.

30 September, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain A recent study published in British Journal Of Cancer suggests that both male and female relatives of women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 35 are at an increased risk of other cancers even if they do not carry faulty BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

Scientists studied the 2208 parents and siblings of 504 women with breast cancer diagnosed before the age of 35 who had been tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. After excluding families with mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, it was found that the relatives not only faced an increased risk of breast cancer, but also of prostate, lung, brain and urinary cancers too.

-Increased cancer risks for relatives of very early-onset breast cancer cases with and without BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.
British Journal of Cancer 103, 1103-1108 (7 September 2010) doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605876


30 September, 2010 | Sunita | Reply

Sunita I recently read an online report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute based on a large study that mammograms in very young women often show false "positives", so young women, should opt for mammograms only if they have symptoms of breast cancer, like a lump, or if they are advised by their doctors to do so.
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms for women over 40 years and clinical breast exams every 3 years for women from 20-30years and every year for 40 + women.

30 September, 2010 | Poonam | Reply

Poonam The National Cancer Institute has developed a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool to help a woman assess her risk for developing breast cancer. click here to find out

28 September, 2010 | Samyuktha | Reply

Samyuktha Rise in cancer is obviously due to many reasons including diet and life style.If only we decide to take charge of these 2 factors which are in our control, we can reduce the number of cases to a large extent. Additionally people who have a family history of cancer should start screening earlier than normally recommended.If consciously we all do this we can positively reduce the number of cases.

29 September, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Samyuktha,

We completely agree with you. The factors that are modifiable by an individual like life style, diet and exercise, which guards us against many disorders, should be taken charge off. Eating a healthy and nutritious diet, exercising for 45 mins - 5-6 times a week and giving up on alcohol and smoking goes a long way in helping our health.

People with family history of cancer should get themselves examined from the age of 35 and others should undergo a preventive health check up from the age of 40.

30 June, 2010 | Rachna | Reply

Rachna Awareness about types of cancers and their symptoms is very low in India. Education programmes related to these, especially breast cancer and cervical cancer which are on rise even among in younger women, should be started at early age.
Simple steps like self examination and regular screening can go a long way in prevention\early detection and timely treatment.

02 June, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain As rightly said by Meenakshi in the article, awareness about breast cancer is very important. Just because a woman does not have genetic history for breast cancer, it does not mean that she can take it casually. It is very important to do self examination regularly and consult doctor at earliest if anything wrong is sensed.

Also, taking simple lifestyle measures like maintaining healthy weight and physical activity and eating appropriate balanced diet will not only improve our overall well being but may also keep certain cancers and many other diseases at bay.

Kanika Jain

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cancer Diet & Nutrition, Cancer Management, Cancer Prevention, General health, Healthy Lifestyle, Screening, Women's Health


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