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Breast Cancer
Feb 7, 2023

Breast Cancer and Risk Factors One Must stay aware of

In India, it is estimated that almost 1,78,000 new cases of breast cancer are registered every year [1]. Breast cancer has overtaken cervical cancer as the most common type of cancer found in Indian women. Also, there are cases where many young women are being affected by it. Different factors may cause breast cancer in women. Treating cancer is expensive and doing so with your savings can be a mistake. To get financial support for your or your loved one’s cancer treatment, you should purchase health insurance. As breast cancer is a critical illness, the sum insured under your general policy might be insufficient. In such a situation, you should opt for critical illness insurance.* How does this policy help you during breast cancer treatment? What things should you be aware of related to breast cancer? Here is all that you must know about.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that affects both women and men but, it is generally found in women. As the breast is made up of various layers of tissues, cancer can originate in either of them. If untreated, cancer can spread to other parts of your body through the bloodstream. However, it is important to note that most of the lumps that are found in the breast are benign, i.e., non-cancerous in nature [2]. Although there are some types of benign lumps that carry a risk of becoming malignant.

What are the signs of breast cancer?

The following are the signs of breast cancer:
  1. Lumps in the breast.
  2. Swelling of a part of the breast.
  3. Irritation of the breast skin.
  4. Redness around the nipple area.
  5. Discharge from the nipple which is not milk.
  6. Change in the shape or size of the breast.
A self-examination of the breasts can be done to check for lumps, swelling, or redness. If you feel like even one of the signs given above is there, you should immediately visit your doctor for a thorough check-up.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

Breast cancer is diagnosed using the following techniques:
  1. Breast exam:

    The doctor checks both breasts for lumps. The lymph nodes are checked for the same.
  2. Ultrasound:

    Sounds waves are used to check for any lumps or abnormalities in and around the breasts.
  3. Mammogram:

    It is an X-ray of the breast. This helps the doctor in spotting lumps or abnormalities.
  4. Biopsy:

    In this, the doctor takes a sample of your breast tissue. This is done either with an X-ray-guided device or with an imaging test. This sample is tested to check for signs of cancer.

How is breast cancer treated?

Breast cancer is treated using the following methods:
  1. Surgery
If the doctor feels that surgery is necessary to treat cancer, there are different types of surgeries that are conducted: Lumpectomy: In this surgery, the focus is on removing tumours and a small portion surrounding the tumour. Mastectomy: In this surgery, one breast is removed entirely. This surgery is done if the breast is completely affected by cancer. Sentinel node biopsy:In this surgery, a number of lymph nodes are removed. This surgery is recommended if damaged lymph nodes are detected. Axillary lymph node dissection: In this surgery, more lymph nodes are removed from your armpit. Removal of both breasts: This surgery is performed if the healthy breast has also an increased risk of developing cancer due to the affected breast.
  1. Chemotherapy

In chemotherapy, a concoction of medicines is used to attack cancer cells in the body. This method is done using either oral medication or through intravenous means.
  1. Radiation therapy

In this method, concentrated radiation waves are used to attack the cancer cells. 
  1. Hormonal therapy

In this method, access of cancer cells to the hormones is completely cut-off, preventing their growth.

How can you reduce the risk?

While certain factors such as genetics or bodily changes might not be under your control, controlling the following factors can greatly help you reduce the risk of getting diagnosed with breast cancer:
  1. Lifestyle:

Radical changes in your lifestyle can have a positive impact not just on your body, but also in reducing the chances of developing breast cancer. Maintaining fitness, getting proper sleep, and quitting smoking and alcohol are some of the changes you can bring to your lifestyle.
  1. Avoid meat:

Red meat is known to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Cutting down on the consumption of red meat helps reduce this risk.
  1. Avoid hormone therapy:

While hormone therapy has its benefits, especially during menopause, they also increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

Can health insurance help with the treatment?

As mentioned earlier, your general medical insurance might not be able to cover the cost of treatment for breast cancer. In such a situation, you should go for critical illness insurance. In this policy, you get a lump sum pay-out. This amount can help you take care of the cost of treatment. Additionally, this pay-out can be used to support in the event of the loss of an income source. *


This information can help you bring changes in your lifestyle and reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. You can use the critical illness insurance premium calculator to get a quote for your policy before you purchase it for you and your loved ones. Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale. *Standard T&C apply

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