Women Cancer Patients Double in India
Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer are ranked as the most prevalent cancers in women in India. It has been observed that out of every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it. India has an estimated population of approximately 2.25 million living with the cancer disease. Every year, new cancer patients are registered over 11,57,294 lakh and reports of cancer-related deaths are 784821. Breast and oral cavity account for 25% of cancers in females in India. Risk of dying from cancer before the age of 75 years is 7.34% in males and 6.28% in females.
The higher incidence of Cervical Cancer is attributed to multiple sex partners, early age of sexual contact and viral infection (HPV). Other factors include unhygienic sexual practices, ignorance about the proper cleaning of the female genitals, paucity of proper toilets, and inadequate bathing facilities. Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy food consumption, obesity, stress, and smoking have also contributed to the rising incidence of breast cancer.
Dr. Ramakant Deshpande, Medical Oncologist, Asian Cancer Institute, says, “Curative treatment can be offered in early stages of Cervical Cancer with the help of surgery, radiation, or a combination of these. In later stages, chemotherapy may be required along with surgery or radiotherapy. Most of the hospitals are equipped to effectively treat these cancers without impacting the quality of life.”
Dr. Meghal Sanghavi, Surgical Oncologist Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central says, “The incidence is increasing, because cancer is picking up at an early age and awareness is also high amongst youngsters, celebrities and socialites. Treatment options are also increasing surgically, and are better than before. Owing to early-stage detection, one can save the breast. Only a doctor can decide whether breast conservation is safe or not for their patient. Breast-conserving surgery is as safe as mastectomy or complete removal of the breast. A lot of eligible patients can also avoid chemotherapy with the availability of a test called Oncotype Dx which decides if chemotherapy will benefit them or not. We have observed 70-75% patients conserve breast in breast cancer treatment”
“Newer chemotherapy drugs with proper counseling and good nutrition have fewer side effects compared to before. Newer radiation modalities now only target the diseased area avoiding side effects to the surrounding normal organs. With the availability of new drugs and targeted therapies available, even the stage 4 patients live a better quality of life. With subtle lifestyle changes, it is for everyone to note that breast cancer patients can now live the same dignified and active lifestyle that they lived before