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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Early detection through screening is important. If a cancer is found in its early stages, it can increase the chances of successful treatment.
Clinical Breast Examination
Have a doctor to examine your breasts once every year if you are 40 years and above. This includes a visual examination and a manual check of the entire breast and underarm area for changes. Changes in the breast may not be due to cancer and diagnostic tests may be performed to assess these changes.
Mammography is a low-powered X-ray technique that gives an image of the internal structure of the breast. Usual screening mammograms involve taking X-ray images with the breast compressed between two plates with two views taken — cranial caudal or horizontal and mediolateral oblique or diagonal.
Additional angles and magnified views may be taken if there are areas of concern. It can detect the presence and position of abnormalities and help in the diagnosis of breast problems including cancer.
The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. Women with risk factors such as a family history of breast cancer should discuss with their doctors when to go for and the interval of regular screening.
There are other tests such as breast ultrasound, tomosynthesis and MRI, available for assessment of the breasts but these are not used for regular screening in well women and are used for further evaluation after initial screening mammogram but may be considered for women with high risk of breast cancer.