Ignoring a breast infection, can be risky for your health: Caution doctors

In the last eight years, Mumbai's civic-run KEM Hospital around 5, 500 women came to KEM Hospital to get treated for breast-related ailments out of which 5,000 women were suffering from some or the other form of breast infection. Whereas, 500 women, were detected and diagnosed with advance stage breast cancer

Ignoring a breast infection, can be risky for your health: Caution doctors

While a lump inside a breast can be a cause of concern for some women there are certain signs of breast infections or breast cancer which go unnoticed or are ignored. Doctors inform that women should not ignore any kind of breast pain or feeling of swelling.

From 2011-2018, around 5,500 women came to KEM Hospital to seek treatment for breast-related disease. Around 500 women were found to be suffering from breast cancer. Out of which, 90 per cent of women were diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer

The rest of the 5,000 women were diagnosed with breast infections. While it is of utmost importance to be aware about breast cancer and its symptoms; it must be noted that breast infections are also likely to lead to breast cancer in the long-run.

Women belonging to the age group are susceptible to breast infections. Here are the most common breast-related health issues which affect women:

Fibrosis: Many breast lumps turn out to be caused by fibrosis and/or cysts, which are non-cancerous (benign) changes in breast tissue that happen in many women at some time in their lives.

The condition is likely to be due to hormone changes during the menstrual cycle that affect breast tissue.

Symptoms include a change in breast texture, pain, tenderness and lumpiness. These may be more bothersome before a period.

Most fibrocystic breast changes are normal. Medical evaluation is required for new changes.

Fibroid tumours: These tumours are not usually found in the breast. This is caused due to hormonal changes. Women in the age group of 18 to 57 are most likely to suffer from fibroid tumours. Breast pain is a key symptom, along with heaviness in the affected breast. The tumour grows slowly, that is why early detection is crucial in preventing growth of a tumour which might be malignant or cancer causing.

Mastitis: Mastitis is an infection of the tissue of the breast that occurs most frequently during the time of breastfeeding. But it can occur even when a woman is not breastfeeding. Pus oozes out from the breast of the women. It can be treated with medications. Or if there is excess formation of pus, an operation is performed to treat the condition, to remove the pus.

Redness or swelling in breast: There is swelling and breast pain in this condition. This too can be addressed with medications.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Shilpa Rao, Professor and Breast Surgery Department in-charge at KEM Hospital’s general surgery department stated, “From the year, 2011 -2018 around 5,500 women came to be treated for breast-related illnesses out of which 500 women were diagnosed with advanced stage cancer, which is difficult to treat.”

Dr Rao added, “While around 2,000 women underwent surgeries for breast infections. We also performed surgeries on those women who were affected with breast cancer.”

Dr Rao further stated, “From 2018 to January 2019, around 100 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. These women are currently being treated. Untreated breast infections are a risk factor for breast cancer. Women tend to ignore breast infections as there are no tell-tale signs or symptoms at times. Women do not go to the doctor if they don’t feel any pain. Due to this the infection can progress to cancer. Ninety per cent of cancers are diagnosed with late stage cancer due to this. That is why early diagnosis is important to prevent breast cancer and breast infections.”

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