Vaginitis is an umbrella medical term for ‘inflammation of the vagina’.
Breast lumps are uneven bumps and growths you can feel over your breasts. It is commonly found in women but can occur in men as well, though less common.
More than 25% of women will encounter breast lumps in their lifetime. Thankfully, most of these breast lumps are benign (non-cancerous). In Singapore, according to the Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Report 2021, breast cancer remains the most frequent type of cancer occurring in women over the past 5 years. From 2017 to 2021, this occurrence comprised nearly 30% of all types of cancer.
You should see a doctor if you notice any of the following:
As these symptoms may be red flags suggestive of breast cancer, early evaluation and treatment are paramount as they can be life-saving.
Your doctor will obtain a history to understand the timeline and progression of the breast lump(s), a family history of any medical conditions related to breast issues, and will physically examine both your breasts and armpit region. Depending on individual symptoms, risk factors, and concerns, your doctor may recommend imaging scans to evaluate the breast lump(s).
Common screening/imaging options for breast lumps include:
The modalities of screening for breast lumps may differ from patient to patient as this depends on the patient’s symptoms, age, risk factors, and general medical background. You are advised to consult your doctor first to understand your symptoms and, secondly, to examine the area of concern physically. This will allow your physician to guide you on the screening option that is best suited for your individual needs.
As mentioned, thankfully, the majority of the breast lumps are benign. The 2 common causes of non-cancerous breast lumps are breast fibroadenoma and breast cysts. However, occasional breast lumps can be due to a more sinister cause, such as breast cancer. Hence, it is important to get yourself checked if you have any breast lumps.
Breast fibroadenoma is a common non-cancerous breast finding that usually presents with palpable lumps. They typically develop during puberty or early reproductive ages due to the exposure and sensitivity of oestrogen hormones. The breast tissues, under the influence of oestrogen, will then grow, intertwining with the breast glands and ducts, leading to the formation of a solid nodule (lump).
Breast cysts are common benign breast condition. Breast cysts are lesions that are fluid-filled in nature. Breast cysts may come and go over any part of the breast(s), which can be influenced by the level of oestrogen hormone in a person. Big cysts can cause pain and discomfort in some women. Small breast cysts are usually left alone with regular monitoring by your doctor. In large, uncomfortable cysts, your doctor may offer a procedure to drain out the fluid of the cysts.
Cancer happens when the cells in a person’s body cannot stop growing. If the cell growth is out of control and occurs in the breast cells and tissues, you can develop breast cancer. The breast cancer cells can grow bigger with time and spread to the surrounding tissues through the bloodstream and lymphatic drainage. Over time, they can disseminate to other organs of the body.
Although most breast lumps are not dangerous, a breast cancer diagnosis should not be delayed and missed as early detection and treatment can be potentially life-saving. In the late stages of breast cancer, the cancer cells can affect other parts of the body, eventually developing into cancer.
Please see a doctor if you have a breast lump!
Below are the factors that determine your risk for breast cancer:
It is worthwhile speaking to your doctor about lifestyle measures to reduce your risk of exposure to breast cancer.
Although there is no absolute way to prevent breast cancer, early detection with appropriate screening may be life-saving. Treatment for early stages of breast cancer is curative. Hence, don’t wait and take a chance; screen and treat early.
Monthly breast self-examination should be performed at home regularly. Your doctor can guide you on how to examine your own breasts and the pitfalls to look out for. You are advised to consider routine mammogram screening annually from age 40 to 49 and two yearly routine mammograms from age 50 and above.
As guidelines are used for the recommendation of the general population, it is still good practice to discuss with your physician which are the suitable breast tests or imaging for you.
Breast lumps are common, and most of the findings are not dangerous. However, breast cancer can present as lumps; hence, breast screening is vital for early detection and treatment!
The Contraceptive Patch looks like a square band-aid (size less than 2’’ x2’’). It is a patch that sticks on the skin.
Combined oral contraceptive pills (COCPs) are a type of female hormonal birth control method that is effective in preventing pregnancy.
Some women have absent or infrequent menses. While some ladies are not bothered with missing their menstrual period, a miss of 3 periods (either consecutively or throughout a year) warrants a visit of your doctor’s clinic.
Cervical Cancer Screening is essential in detecting early cancerous changes and cancer cells in the cervix.
Breast Cancer Screening involves checking a woman’s breasts for cancer before any signs or symptoms of the disease by using a technology known as mammography to generate a mammogram x-ray of the breast tissue.