At Home Christian Jessen 2014 - 191

| healthy breasts|

dr
christian
says

'Ideally, you should
check your breasts
once a month. Doing
it a week or so after
your period can
help avoid feeling
your breasts when
they may be slightly
more swollen or
lumpy due to your
hormones. What are
you looking for?
Anything that wasn't
there last time
you checked!'

you'll be offered a choice of treatments. For example, you
may need to have the whole breast removed (mastectomy),
or have breast conserving surgery, where you either
have only the cancerous lump removed (called
lumpectomy or wide local excision), or about a quarter
of the breast tissue removed (quadrantectomy).
If you have breast conserving surgery, you will need to
have radiotherapy (where high-energy X-rays are used
to destroy remaining cancer cells) to the remaining breast
tissue after the operation. The radiotherapy aims to treat
any cancer cells that may still be in the breast tissue. You
might also have radiotherapy to the lymph nodes above
the collarbone after surgery. You may need radiotherapy
after a mastectomy, too. This depends on how much risk
there is of the cancer coming back in the chest muscle.
You may choose to have a new breast shape made
(breast reconstruction) at the time of surgery or later.
(delayed reconstruction). Your surgeon will usually
discuss your treatment with a clinical oncologist after all
the breast tissue has been examined in the laboratory.
A great deal of research has proved that breast
conserving surgery with radiotherapy works as well as
mastectomy at treating early breast cancer. So, some
women with early stage breast cancer may be able to
choose between a mastectomy or conservative surgery
with radiotherapy. They may also have a choice about
whether to have breast reconstruction at the same time
or at a later date. All breast surgery leaves a scar. Your
surgeon will be able to tell you what to expect in your
case and may be able to show you photos of what your
breast is likely to look like after the surgery.

eight in 10 breast
cancers are diagnosed
in women over 50

The five-point code

1
2
3

Know what's normal for you.
Everybody's different, and so are their breasts - they come
in all shapes and sizes. The key is simply knowing what is
normal for you. The more familiar you are with how lumpy
your breasts are, what shape they are, how they change before and
after periods and so on, the more likely you are to notice changes.

which changes to watch for.
It's important that you know what's not right for you.
This might be a dimpled or puckered area, a rash on
or around the nipple, an inverted nipple, an obvious
swelling, discharge from the nipple, a change in the size or shape of
your breast or a swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone.
checK the looK and feel of your
breasts. There is no rigid, set way to examine your
breasts; you have to decide what you're comfortable with
and what's convenient for you. Some women prefer to lie
down, others find it easier to check their breasts in the shower or
bath, using soapy hands that run over the skin more easily. It's also
a good idea to get into the habit of looking at your breasts daily in
the mirror - maybe while you're getting dressed in the morning.

4

report any changes without
delay. If you do happen to discover a change in one
of your breasts, book an appointment with your doctor
right away. And don't panic! Most breast changes aren't
cancer and are, in fact, nothing to worry about. However, it really
is better to be safe than sorry - the earlier any problems are
detected, the greater your chances of making a complete recovery.

a mammogram
usually takes
around 15-20 minutes

5

attend routine breast screening
if you are over 50. Mammograms are
available to all women in the UK between the ages of
50 and 70 years old. Women who are thought to be
at a significantly higher risk of breast cancer than the general
population will be offered breast screening from the age of 40.
www.athomemagazine.co.uk JULY 2014 | 191


http://www.athomemagazine.co.uk

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