Dr.Bharath Veerabadhran M
Consultant, Surgical Oncology
KIMSHEALTH Cancer Centre
It is October and as most of us are familiar, it is observed world-wide as Breast Cancer awareness month. It is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer on woman’s health. It entails raising awareness about the preventive aspects of breast cancer, to know about the early symptoms of breast cancer hence leading to its early detection and also to discuss on survivor ship.
Global incidence of breast cancer is increasing. Increase is driven mostly by demographic factors such a population age and lifestyle factors change, particularly in a developing country like India.
When we consider the trend of breast cancer in India, the statistics are worrying-
· Increase in incidence overall reflecting the global trend.
· Increasing incidence of breast cancer in younger age groups, which is probably due to more number of women in the younger age group population in our country
· Most importantly, decreased survival in Indian women, as they present quite late to the clinic, due to lack of awareness.
There is a definite unmet need for regular educational outreach programs, to make the public more aware, to teach them the early symptoms and the benefit of seeking professional help at the earliest. Early detection by means of a population based screening, though not a possibility
The COVID pandemic has posed a challenge to every avenue and delivery of cancer care has not been spared either. There have been significant setbacks in screening and early detection .We will all agree that Prevention and Early Detection, not cancer drug break through discoveries-are the best way to control the global scourge of breast cancer. we can follow a risk- based screening by mammograms which can help in detecting the cancer at an early stage detection, not cancer drug break through discoveries – are the best way to control the global scourge of breast cancer. The onus is on prevention and early detection. Prevention is by adopting a healthy life style with regular exercise and home cooked food. Early detection by means of breast self examination and by following age appropriate screening guidelines.
So what does it mean to be aware? Being aware means to stay informed, not to stay in fear of the unknown nor to be carefree and take things for granted. Awareness helps in building a certain level of understanding, thereby bridging the knowledge gap and only by working together we can move towards our goal of achieving a healthier and a more conscious society, which cares for its women. We should also take this as an opportunity to stand in solidarity with breast cancer survivors across the country wishing them courage and thank them for the hope that they so bravely provide to all of us.