Statistical analysis from National Cancer Registry programme, India, 2020 projected that 1 in 29 females will develop breast cancer during their lifetime and the highest cancer incidence rate was noticed in the North East of India. This article is also in support of Breast Cancer Awareness campaign ‘Beyond Breast’ designed by my friend, Sid Ghosh in 2016, says Mousomi Chakravorty
As the global community observed World Cancer Day on 4th Feb 2021, initiated by IUCC (International Union of Cancer control) to address the issue of Cancer Burden and existing healthcare challenges; WHO (World Health Organisation) most recently published report states that Breast Cancer is predominantly the most commonly occurring Cancer in the world.
Based on statistical evidence provided by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), December 2020, the rise in the number of diagnosed Breast cancer Cases is substantially very high and has surpassed other different types of Cancer. Though the data is largely scattered in India, but the epidemiological research studies published in several journals by Indian Researchers has suggested that incidence of Breast Cancer in India shows an increasing trend in urban Indian Women as compared to rural Indian Women population.
The statistical analysis from National Cancer Registry programme, India, 2020 projected that 1 in 29 females will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. As compared to rest of country the highest cancer incidence rate was noticed in the North East of India and estimated lowest five-year survival rate of breast, cervix and head and neck cancer.
Breast Cancer in Women is usually diagnosed at the age of 50 years or above however it could occur at any age. The cause of developing Breast Cancer is not fully understood yet and research studies are ongoing, though there are certain listed risk factors that contributes towards developing this medical condition.
Increasing age, genetic mutations of the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 inherited from either parent, Family history of Breast or Ovarian cancer, personal history of Breast cancer (Women who had previous history of Breast cancer are more likely to develop Breast cancer again), lack of physical activity, overweight and obesity, hormone replacement therapy (both estrogen and progesterone) during menopause, oral contraceptive pills (combined pill) and alcohol abuse raises the risk of breast cancer. Rarely, but men too can have breast cancer and the risk factors include unhealthy lifestyle, obesity, Klinefelter Syndrome (a genetic disease with an extra copy of the X chromosome) and liver fibrosis.
The symptoms of breast cancer in women are lump or swelling in the breast or underarms. There can also be pain, rash, and unusual discharge from the nipple and change in the size and shape of the breast. A sudden change in the nipple area characterised by nipple appearance as for example nipple is inverted.
Breast Cancer generally could be of two types: Non-invasive (Ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS) wherein cancer cells are inside the milk ducts and do not spread into the breast tissue or to another part of the body. Invasive breast cancer is the most prevalent type where in the cancer cells which started in the breast ducts or glands have spread to the surrounding breast tissue and could spread to other parts of the body. Few other types include Lobular Breast Cancer, Inflammatory Breast Cancer and Paget’s disease of the breast (cancer cells in or around the nipple).
Breast surgery is the first choice of treatment followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Breast Screening Programme which detects Breast cancer at a very early stage plays an important role on the survival and outcome from Breast Cancer. Mammographic screening is recommended and women in the higher risk groups should opt for BRCA gene test to detect the breast cancer genes. The lack of awareness and reluctance to go to physician by breaking down complex social barriers is a serious challenge to overcome Breast Cancer. ASHA(Accredited social Health activist)workers do provide us some hope of raising Breast Cancer awareness In India.
The artworks are by Sid Ghosh from his initiative “Beyond Breast” and his film Stree Shakti – The art of fighting breast cancer
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Mousomi, a humanist, nature lover, mum and loves reading newspapers and scientific magazines. She has got an active interest in microbes mainly bacteria and viruses. Coming from a multicultural family, she loves meeting people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.