by The Welthi Bureau | 03 OCT 2017
October is the designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Long considered as a disease of the urban West, as India conquers its infectious diseases, breast cancer has emerged as one of the top causes of cancer morbidity and mortality in India.
For every two women diagnosed newly with breast cancer, one of them dies of breast cancer in India. Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women in India and accounts for 27% of women’s cancers. One in 28 women is likely to develop breast cancer in India in their lifetime.
The official numbers are just the tip of an iceberg, as there are no proper cancer registries. The disease is particularly alarming since it has a unique demography in India. More and more younger women are afflicted, the average age of incidence being 10 years younger than the population in the western countries. Earlier onset means more aggressive disease, as is being seen, and many patients are being seen with a more advanced stage at the stage of presentation. There is more mortality and morbidity compared to the West not just due to the biology of the disease, but mainly due to the late detection also.
The late detection is due to lack of awareness, social prejudice, poor motivation and traditional low priority a woman sets for her own health in the Indian family, and most importantly, lack of a structured and organized screening programme.
What exactly constitutes high risk?
Being a woman itself is a risk factor, the women having more risk of getting than men. Yes, breast cancer is seen in men too, but incidence is very low compared to women.
The major risk factors are increasing age, family history (5 to 10 % of breast cancers are familial), increased exposure to hormones like early menarche, late menopause, late first child birth, use of hormone replacement therapy and obesity.
In fact, as many as 50% of the women have no identifiable risk factors at all.
Every woman should be “breast aware”, that means she should be able to notice any subtle changes in her breast and consult appropriately. The heightened awareness is not just for those with high risk, but also for women in all walks of life.
Heightened awareness should be not only with regards to :
Detection of a lump but also several other changes such as change in the size of the breast
any nipple discharge or rash
thickening of skin over the breast
lumps in the armpits.
Pain is not a feature of malignancy.
Not all breast lumps are malignant - an overwhelming majority are benign and innocent, but every lump should be viewed with suspicion, and malignancy should be ruled out.
Triple tests include clinical breast examination, imaging and pathological testing.
Breast cancer can be detected early by screening.
According to the latest guidelines, every women should between the age of 45 to 54 years should get an yearly mammogram, beyond 55 years should get every two years, and any high risk woman with a strong family history or genetic testing positive may consider an MRI with the consultation of the Doctor.
50 to 70 % of breast cancers detected in India are in a locally advanced stage.
Cancer is now to be treated as a chronic disease like diabetes and hypertension. Women should not dread the term cancer, but live through the journey of the treatment, recovery and subsequent life with a great positive attitude, zeal and zest.
Contact details: 9908216809, ( WA 8861462690) , firstname.lastname@example.org
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