• October 28, 2021

Breast Cancer Cases On The Rise Since Last 5 Years

Go For Regular Mammograms: Warn Doctors

Mumbai: There is a spurt in cases of breast cancer cases since last 5 years.  Women often tend to ignore their health, and as a result, fail to catch cancers such as ovarian or breast at the right time. This can further lead to increased morbidity and mortality rates. Now, even a lot of younger women are being diagnosed with this cancer.  It is imperative for every woman to do breast self-examination after the age of 20, and mammograms after 50 every 2 years. Early diagnosis will aid in prompt treatment of breast cancer. Be alert, and lead a healthy life.

According to a report published by the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP) out of all the types of cancers, breast cancer has become a major health concern across Indian cities, especially in the metropolitan cities like Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai account for more than a fourth of all female cancers.  The lifetime risk of having breast cancer in women is 1 in 8 in the US, while in India it’s 1 in 30 in rural and 1 in 60 urban regions. This is due to lifestyle changes and other factors. The majority of the Indian population having breast cancer is young, unlike most western countries. In India, it shows that breast cancer among young women is actually four times higher than in the west.

Dr. Sandip Bipte, Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital Mumbai said, “At present, younger breast cancer patients aren’t being brought to hospitals for diagnosis or treatment. Because women are shy, they don’t complain when they find a lump in their breast.  This is the reason they mostly get diagnosed very late and in the advanced stage. Combine this with the fact, that over 50% of breast cancer patients in India present in stages 3 and 4, which will definitely, impact survival. It’s the fear of having breast cancer that makes every woman more aware and alert about screening. Most of the breast lumps (90%) are benign, only a few will turn malignant. But, to identify whether the lump is benign or malignant, all women need to do is, go through breast self-examination and screening mammography if suggested with an expert opinion.”

“Nowadays, the management of breast cancer requires multimodality treatment options such as Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation, and Hormonal therapy which in fact involve a huge cost to the patients. Most of the time, it’s the cost that is the key factor for delay in treatment. “To overcome the crisis of cost and late presentation, the best modality is the prevention of breast cancer through breast cancer awareness programme for all age groups and Breast Self examination and expert consultation with screening modality. Breast self-examination can start at the age of 20 after the 5th day of menses completion every month. As the general population screening, the recommendation would be mammography after the age of 50 once in 2 years. For a high-risk woman, apart from self-examination, we recommend an examination by an expert annually with mammogram or MRI,” highlighted Dr. Bipte.

Dr Dhairyasheel Sawant, Consultant Surgical Oncologist, and Reconstructive Surgeon, ACI Cumballa Hill Hospital, Mumbai, said, “We have diagnosed and treated 80 new cases of breast cancer from April 2020 to July 2021. Out of the 80 new cases, 9 patients were younger than 40 yrs. of age, 23 patients were between 41 to 49 yrs. of age, and the remaining 48 patients were older than 50 yrs of age. Since 2013, we have diagnosed and treated more than 900 cases of breast cancer at our institute. Total cases of breast cancer operated from August 2016 to July 2021 are 465, 60 patients less than 40 years, 110 patients in the age group of 41-49 years, and 295 patients above 50 were treated at the hospital. In recent years, we are seeing younger females diagnosed with breast cancer. The cause of this shift could be due to multiple reasons like lifestyle, environmental, dietary changes, increased use of hormonal supplements, etc.”

Dr Sawant added, “But one of the biggest reasons is the self-awareness and regular self-breast examination by the patients. Regular self-breast examination starting at a young age (20 yrs ), help women understand their breast structure better and notice any early signs of breast cancer and report it to the doctor at the earliest.  As self-breast examination helped early detection of any suspicious mass or lesion in the breast, more and more women approached health caregivers for check-ups and evaluations. A reduction in deaths due to breast cancer is also noted in patients who are detected early in regular screening group with a significant reduction in deaths in older women (Age>50 yrs).”

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