October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness month across the globe. Identified as the most common cancer among women, breast cancer has caused the highest cancer-related deaths in the world, and in India.
During this pandemic times, we have observed that many patients are visiting the hospital at a later stage of the disease. Patients are certainly scared of coronavirus infection, however, it is also essential for them to be aware of cancer and the increasing mortality rate, as cancer-related deaths are much more than COVID related deaths. So, this 2020 has more significance for people to know about cancer and breast cancer in particular.
Up to September 1st 2020, the data states that around 65,000 people have died in India because of COVID and related complications. Cancer-related deaths in India is more than 7 lakh a year, including a huge ratio of deaths due to breast cancer itself with more than 80,000 a year.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer. Here is why it is important more people need to be aware of breast cancer:
It is cancer with high mortality
Screening and Early Detection is possible
Easily treatable and good treatments are available
Can prevent mortality if detected early
Many countries around the world have achieved great success through health awareness programme which is NEED OF THE HOUR for India
Many of the risk factors are still unknown. A single risk factor cannot be pointed as a cause of breast cancer, as it’s multifactorial. A few are modifiable, and a few are not.
Breast cancer is even seen in the male population but rare. Elderly women, family history of breast cancer, genetic mutations, hormonal imbalance (early menarchy, late menopause, nulliparity, hormone replacement therapy), obesity, alcohol intake, smoking are a few known risk factors.
Early detection is the key to prevent breast cancer-related mortality. Consult with the best oncologist in Mangalore for early detection.
Visit the Oncology hospital in Mangalore immediately if there is a suspicious lump (especially elderly women)
Regular self-examination of the breast (at least once a month)
Regular checkup with an oncologist in case of strong family history
Bilateral mammogram from age the of 40 years (once in 2 years up to 50 years of age, and once a year screening for all women above 50 years)
The treatment of breast cancer is mainly dependent on stage it is identified. If the patient presents it at the early stages, it is possible to cure the disease and prevent death due to cancer. There are many treatment options available like surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. Surgery is required in all the stages, except stage 4. The other modalities of treatment are decided to depend on stage and type of cancer.
Many patients ask about the possibility of breast preservation in cancer. The answer is YES, it is possible to preserve breast with or without reconstruction and all patients do not require complete removal of the breast. We can even reconstruct the breast after complete removal with good plastic surgery support.
Healthy lifestyle: regular exercise, healthy eating habits, reduce fat intake
Addition of vegetables and fruits in your diet helps in maintaining a healthy body weight
For new mothers, it is advisable to breastfeed their child at least for one year
Don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess
Common misconceptions about breast cancer:
No, all lumps in the breast are not cancerous, but all lumps should be evaluated.
No, a mammogram is a safe procedure with very less radiation dose.
No, they are at higher risk than the general population, should be on regular checkup.
No, up to 70% of surgeries in developed nations is breast conservation, in India this trend is slowly increasing. Breast conservation is as safer as total removal (total mastectomy). Breast reconstruction even after complete removal is possible.
Yes, most patients lose hair during chemotherapy, but it is temporary and all of them regain hair within a span of a year.
Cancer affects the whole family, not just the patient. So it is of utmost importance to spread this awareness and diagnose cancer early and prevent mortality caused due to breast cancer.
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