The first-line of defence against breast cancer is to perform the monthly breast self-examination. Women over the age of twenty should examine their breasts every month. Women before reaching menopause should check their breasts from the 7th – 10th day after their period starts, while those who have reached post-menopause stage, should perform self-examination for the breasts on the same day every calendar month.
The symptoms of breast cancer may not be easily detected at an early stage. Any of the following changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
Mammography is widely used as a screening tool for breast cancer. It is an X-ray examination of the breasts. During mammography, the breast is pressed between 2 plates to make the breast be flat, thus spreading the breast tissue evenly, in order to obtain a clear and accurate image. Some women may find it uncomfortable or painful but the discomfort is usually temporary. Generally, mammography screening is a safe investigation land only a very small dose of radiation is used in the procedure. It is recommended for women aged 40 and above to have this screening exercise every one to two yearly.
Ultrasound examination of the breasts is also a safe and painless investigation, useful in evaluation of any breast lumps. Women of all ages are suitable for this examination, especially pre-menopausal young women whose breast density is usually higher than that of post-menopausal women. Furthermore, Asian women also have a relatively higher breast density than the western population, and thus we usually offer both ultrasound and mammogram for our local women screening programme.
The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong: https://www.famplan.org.hk/en
Lady Helen Woo Women’s Diagnositic and Treatment Centre: http://www.obsgyn.hku.hk/clinicalServ/lhww/main.htm