The rise of breast cancer in India
New figures spell a startling future – it’s time we took preventive measures
There’s no escaping the fine print – Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the country, having overtaken cervical cancer. In cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, breast cancer accounts for 25% to 32% of all female cancers, more than 1/4th of all female cancers.
It’s also more common in the younger age group. Almost 50% of all cases are in the age group of 25-50. And more than 70% of the cases present in advanced stage had poor survival and high mortality.
The numbers are staggering. And constantly rising. The Indian Council for Medical Research recently published a report which stated that in 2016 the total number of new cancer cases is expected to be about 14.5 lakhs. This figure will likely increase to 17.3 lakhs in 2020.
The survival rates are low because the detection takes place late. The only way to change these numbers is by increasing awareness. Breast cancer is a treatable disease and chances of survival are higher if it’s detected in time. The only way to do so is by being aware of how it can be detected and diagnosed early.
This includes leading a healthy lifestyle, being aware of family medical histories – so that if you know you’re genetically inclined towards it, you can take preventive drugs or undergo preventive surgery. The simplest way to prevent this is by being able to do a self-breast examination. Women should be doing this on a regular basis after they turn 30.
Prevention is a step away from cure. Be aware, be prepared.
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