When it comes to breast cancer, early Detection Can Help Save Lives.
Breast cancer refers to the medical condition where cancer – typically in the form of lobules (milk producing glands), ducts (passageways for milk to travel from gland to nipple) or fatty and fibrous tissue - develops in the breast cells. As the cancer cells grow uncontrolled, they invade healthy breast tissues and can travel to the lymph nodes under the arms. Lymph nodes allow cancer cells to reach other parts of the body.
According to studies, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst urban Indian women. It is particularly prevalent in urban zones like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad, where breast cancer accounts for more than 32% of all cancers in females. The ailment is common in young adults, with nearly half the case of breast cancer occurring between the age group of 25 and 50. And while these are disturbing facts, like all dark clouds, there is a silver lining to this story.
The heterogeneous structure of Indian society - with its many imbalances and disparities in areas such as awareness, access, affordability and social attitude – aggravates the condition. To make matters worse, treatment facilities are concentrated in larger cities.
Despite stats pointing to a staggering 17.3 lac cases by 2020, and in spite of low survival rate against amongst Indian women against an attack, breast cancer remains an inherently curable disease with higher chances of survival if it is detected and diagnosed early on, and with adequate rehabilitation and palliative care.
PREVENTION, AS ALWAYS, IS THE BEST CURE
Going for regular mammograms and screenings at the hospital or clinic, doing frequent self-checkups at home (once a month, at the same time every month) and being aware of hereditary factors (family history of the disease may put someone at a higher risk of mutation and therefore mandate special intervention such as diagnostic and prophylactic treatments) can all go a long way in early detection and in-time prevention.
That apart, one must make an active effort to lead a healthy lifestyle, such as following a healthy diet, cutting down on smoking and alcohol, and going for regular exercise. Research is on to assess the feasibility of Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) as a low-cost solution to breast cancer screening, especially for low-income societies and countries.
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