A breast Ccancer campaign uses lemons to educate women about the malady
A new breast cancer awareness drive aims at providing practical examples to women when it comes to self-breast examination.
You may have come across a series of intriguing and extremely innovative pictures of lemons to educate you about breast cancer. As a doctor, I feel it is important to share these with you, in case you have missed them.
Worldwidebreastcancer.org, an organisation working towards spreading awareness about one of the most detectable types of cancers, has launched a campaign: #KnowYourLemons. The aim is simple – to simplify the existing charts about self-detection of breast cancer and enable women with something they can actually use.
In a series of three posters, women (and men) can learn about the cancer, the early signs, and what to do if you detect something odd with the breasts. This applies to men too, as breast cancer also affects them, albeit much less frequently.
Every woman should regularly perform a self-examination of breasts. There are two components of the examination. A visual examination includes seeing if there is anything wrong with the breast. A manual examination involves feeling for any lumps with the palm of your hand.
For a visual examination, the existing charts are either too descriptive or too graphic. However, this poster brilliantly summarises what is to be seen during an examination. Some of the changes may be hormonal and could be linked to the menstrual cycle. However, if the changes persist, it is time to visit a doctor.
When it comes to manual palpation, this poster tells us what to feel.
So watch out for any hard lump that does not move, much like a lemon seed.
What are the next steps?
Say, if you detect something you suspect is a lump. Do not panic. Here is what you do next.
There are many tests that can confirm the diagnosis of cancer. But here are a few things that you should remember.
- The risk increases with age. It is not often seen in women less than 40, but the risk increases significantly with increasing age. Regular alcohol consumption, oral contraceptives, Hormone Replacement Therapy after menopause, and obesity may increase your risk whereas exercise reduces it.
- Family history matters. In breast cancer, your risk increases if your mother or sister has been diagnosed with this cancer. The chances of the other breast being affected are also high. So if you have a history, do a self-examination often and visit your doctor regularly.
- An early diagnosis is always better. It would be unfortunate if you are detected with something like this. However, an early diagnosis, barring a variants, mean good prognosis for this cancer. The medical interventions available are fantastic, and so is the survival rate following intervention.
- Wrong notions exist. Use of antiperspirants, bras, silicone implants do not cause breast cancer.
Mums and dads, I urge you to download the breast cancer leaflet to know more about it.