On Women’s Health Day, Top Oncologists Define Early Breast Cancer Signs

We have compiled insights from several esteemed oncologists who offer their expert advice on identifying the early signs of breast cancer


New Delhi : On the occasion of Women’s Health Day, it serves as a significant reminder of the pivotal role that women play in our lives, families, and communities. In this instance, we aim to bring attention to a matter of utmost significance: breast cancer, which ranks among the primary causes of cancer-related fatalities in women across the globe. Timely identification of symptoms is crucial for enhancing prognosis and elevating survival rates. Therefore, it is essential for women to have knowledge of the initial indications and symptoms.

We have compiled insights from several esteemed oncologists who offer their expert advice on identifying the early signs of breast cancer.

Dr. Chinna Babu, Clinical Director and Surgical Oncologist at Yashoda Hospital in Hyderabad

As the incidence of breast cancer continues to increase annually, it is our responsibility to detect and treat it at an early stage. Regular breast self-examination is necessary to detect any changes in the breast. Failure to do so may result in difficulty in detecting any changes. It is recommended to develop a routine of conducting a breast self-examination at least once a month, if not daily. This involves standing in front of a mirror and thoroughly examining the entire breast for any new changes, such as the presence of a lump or hardness. Additional indicators that may serve as early warning signs of breast cancer include nipple discharge, particularly if it appears red in colour; nipple retraction; skin dimpling on the breast; skin redness over the breast; or swelling in the armpit.

A recommended approach for early detection of breast cancer, prior to the onset of symptoms, is to undergo annual mammogram screenings beginning at age 45.

The individual in question is Dr. Prasad Kasbekar, a Consultant Surgical Oncologist and Director of Sarvasva Health, as well as the Founder of the Wellness Centre Clinic at Masina Hospital in Mumbai. Dr. Kasbekar holds a Master of Surgery (MS) degree, a Master of Chirurgiae (MCh) degree, and is a Fellow of the European Board of Surgery (FEBS) and the American College of Surgeons (FACS).

Breast cancer is a prevalent form of cancer among women, and timely identification can result in successful treatment. The initial symptoms include an asymptomatic mass, unilateral nipple discharge, nipple retraction, and alterations in the skin covering the breast. Recent advancements in therapy have rendered total breast removal obsolete, with partial removal demonstrating comparable results.

Therefore, it is important for every woman to receive the correct advice, as that can also be breast-saving along with being lifesaving. Modern treatments also focus on breast reconstruction and functional and cosmetic rehabilitation, so she can live a cancer-free life full of confidence. Following the set screening protocols is a must, as even women as young as 30 are being detected with cancer.

Our belief at SARVASVA HEALTH is that cancer care involves not only curing disease but also reshaping the life of the individual, medically, physically, and psychologically.

Dr. Gunjesh Kumar Singh, MBBS, MD, DM Medical Oncology (Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai), ESMO Certified Medical Oncologist, Consultant & HOD- Bhagwaan Mahavir Medica Super Speciality Hospital, Jharkhand.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer seen in Indian females, while the same is observed globally. The rising incidence in the younger population is concerning. Although breast cancer hardly shows some symptoms in its early stages, its timely detection can turn a breast cancer story into a survivor’s tale. If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.

On the occasion of International Women’s Health Day, I intend to appeal to women of all age groups not to ignore the following warning signs of breast cancer: New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit), Thickening or swelling of part of the breast, Irritation or dimpling of breast skin, Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast, Pulling in the nipple or pain in the nipple area, Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood, Any change in the size or shape of the breast and pain in any area of the breast.

Dr. Jojo V Joseph, MS (Surgery), MCH (Oncosurgery), Senior Consultant Surgical Oncologist – Caritas Cancer Institute Kottayam Indiragadhi co-op Hospital, Kochi.

Early signs of female cancer can vary depending on the specific type of cancer. However, it’s important to note that experiencing these signs does not necessarily mean a person has cancer, as these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions. Here are some early signs associated with common types of female cancer:

Breast cancer: the presence of a new lump or thickening in the breast or underarm area, Breast pain or tenderness that is not related to menstrual cycles, Changes in breast size, shape, or appearance Nipple changes

Ovarian cancer: abdominal bloating or swelling; pelvic pain or discomfort; feeling full quickly while eating. Changes in bowel habits or urinary patterns

Cervical cancer: abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause; pelvic pain or pain during intercourse; unusual vaginal discharge. Remember, early detection is crucial to the successful treatment of cancer. It is always best to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis.

Dr. Pradeep Kumar Karumanchi, MBBS (Osm), DNB (Radiation Oncology), ECFMG (USA), CCPT (USA), CTO (USA), CPO (SWISS), Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad

Self-Breast Exam- An Unarmed Weapon to Fight Breast Cancer!

Treatment of breast cancer has evolved leaps and bounds, so today early stage breast cancer has a 99% survival rate and even stage III cancer has excellent survival rates of more than 80%. A new lump in the breast or underarm, dimpling of breast skin, bloody nipple discharge, pain, redness or pulling of the nipple are some of the warning signs of breast cancer. All women should be aware of these symptoms and identifying them early through self-breast examination is an effective way of identifying the disease in its early stage. Self-breast examination, mammography and genetic screening in high-risk females with a family history can help in identifying breast cancer in its early stage and thereby increase the chances of cure.

Dr. Saurabh Gupta, MCH (Surgical Oncology), Senior Consultant & Unit head, Dept of Surgical Oncology, Venkateshwar Hospital Dwarka, New Delhi

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Indian women. In India, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi have the highest rates of breast cancer. Hence, it is necessary to diagnose and treat this cancer in its early stages. A few early signs of breast cancer are: a lump in the breast or armpit; redness of the skin; puffing or dimpling of the breast skin; nipple discharge; or inversions or ulcerations.

Breast cancer screening includes monthly self-breast examinations and screening mammograms every alternate year. Early breast cancer is easily curable and not life-threatening. Treatment options include breast-conserving surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and/or hormonal therapy. Breast cancer risk reduction strategies include a healthy diet, regular exercise, avoidance of alcohol, first childbirth before the age of 36, and breastfeeding by choice. To conclude, breast cancer is not considered a cancer anymore but a lifestyle disease (just like diabetes and hypertension) that can be effectively managed if detected early.

Dr. Ninad Katdare, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology, HCG ICS – Khubchandani Cancer Centre Colaba, Specialist in GI, Gynec and Peritoneal Oncology, Specialist in MIS and Robotic Surgery, Mumbai

Cancer is a dangerous disease that can affect anyone, and women are particularly affected by it. It is important for women to be aware of the early signs of cancer and seek medical attention promptly. Here are some early signs of cancer in women: Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers. Early signs of breast cancer include a lump or thickening in the breast tissue, changes in breast size or shape, and discharge from the nipple. Women should also look for changes in the skin, such as redness, dimpling, or puckering. Cervical cancer can be detected through regular pap smears. Symptoms can include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge and pain during intercourse. Ovarian cancer is often called the “silent killer” because symptoms can be vague. These can include abdominal bloating, pelvic pain, and changes in bowel habits. Women should also be aware of skin cancer. Signs include changes in skin color or texture or changes in the size or shape of existing moles.