What is the significance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
October, every year, is observed as breast cancer awareness month. It offers an important platform for healthcare professionals, organizations and communities to come together to focus on one of the most life threatening diseases affecting women across the world. The key talking points during the month include having open discussions to reduce stigma, educate the masses on the importance of early detection and offer support to those affected by the disease.
What are some common myths regarding breast cancer?
Myth 1: Breast Cancer doesn’t affect men it is only found in women
While the majority of patients diagnosed with breast cancer are women, it has been detected in men, most often older men, though it can occur at any age. Since everyone is born with a small amount of breast tissue, this type of cancer can develop in both genders.
Myth 2: Those with no family history of breast cancer are completely safe
While only 5-10% of cases are hereditary, most people diagnosed with the disease have no known family history. Majority of such cases result from lifestyle and environment factors.
Myth 3: Deodorants and Antiperspirants cause breast cancer
There is no clear evidence to suggest that use of such products on the underarms causes breast cancer; in fact, there Is very little scientific evidence to support this claim.
Myth 4: Exposure to X-rays can cause breast cancer
Radiation exposure in breast X-ray or mammogram screenings is very low, hence minimal risk to the patient. Women beyond 40 are advised to mandatorily undergo such screenings. Similarly, there has been no link found between use of smartphones and cancer.
Myth 5: Injury to the breasts can cause breast cancer
Accidents and blows that cause injury to the breasts do not result in diagnosis of breast cancer. In rare cases injuries have led to a diagnosis of breast cancer, however this has not been linked directly to the injury itself.
What are the Key Statistics of breast cancer relevant to India?
- Breast Cancer accounts for 25 – 32 % of all female cancers in cities across India.
- Every 4 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in India
- In India, 1 woman dies of breast cancer every 13 minutes.
- 1 in 28 Women in India are at a risk of contracting breast cancer in their lifetime.
- Survivors of breast cancer are at an increased risk of Osteoporosis.
- Highest incidence of breast cancer is in India is in the age group of 30-50 years.
- More than 50% of breast cancer patients in India are suffering from stage 3 & stage 4
What are the factors to be kept in mind for detection & prevention of breast cancer?
Early detection is the backbone in the fight against any cancer, as it significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and long-term survival.Therefore being informed about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer can empower women to take the right steps.
Know Your Body: Familiarize yourself with your breasts. Regularly check for any lumps; any lump in the breast should not be taken lightly. Changes in size or shape, unusual sensations, nipple pain, inversion, watery or bloody discharge, any unexplained pain in the breasts must be immediately taken up with a medical professional. Early detection is your best defense.
Mammograms: Women over 40 years of age, or those who having a family history of breast cancer should undergo regular mammograms. This can help detect cancer at an early and more treatable stage.
Healthy Lifestyle: A balanced diet, regular exercise, and abstinence from smoking & alcohol consumption can reduce risk.
Self-Care: Prioritise self-care. Manage stress, ensure you get enough sleep, and nurture your emotional well-being. Remember, a healthy mind complements a healthy body!
Community and Peer-group Support: You are not alone! Reach out to family and friends, support groups for any concerns. Share your story & journey, lean on others for strength.
Spread the Word: Share your knowledge. Advocate for the women in your life to prioritize their health. Together, we can create a world where breast cancer is detected early and lives are saved!
What are the treatment options for those detected with Breast Cancer?
When it comes to treating breast cancer, treatment is subjective as one size certainly does not fit all! Cancer tumours encompass a wide array of subtypes, each with its unique characteristics and requirements for treatment. Tailoring the approach to the specific type of breast cancer is essential. Moreover, collaboration among a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including surgical oncologist, medical oncologists, radiation oncologist, radiologists, pathologists and psychologist is vital to ensure best course of action. This team effort ensures that the patient receives a comprehensive evaluation, accurate diagnosis, and an individualized treatment plan.
What makes SPARSH Hospital the preferred destination for breast cancer treatment?
At SPARSH, we place great value on providing an accommodating environment for each patient to undergo breast cancer treatment with a palpable degree of comfort.
Our expert team of oncologists, surgeons and nurses are well trained and equipped with the latest technology to handle the most advanced breast cancer cases. Every patient’s details are thoroughly discussed to provide the best possible care, irrespective of the stage of the disease or the background of the patient or family.We provide the entire range of breast cancer services starting from prevention, screening, detection, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care personalised to each patient.
Surgery often plays a pivotal role in the treatment of early breast cancer. The concept of surgery has transformed from radical to breast conservation surgery i.e. from maximum tolerable treatment to minimum effective treatment.
For locally advanced disease, a combination of treatments may be necessary. This can include chemotherapy to shrink the tumour before surgery and or radiation therapy to target any remaining cancer cells.
Additionally, in certain cases, targeted therapies and immunotherapies are showing promise as new avenues of treatment.
With improved surgical technology and techniques like sentinel lymph node biopsy using methylene blue, ICG or technetium, radical surgeries are avoided and morbidity associated with surgery are also reduced.
Facilities at SPARSH:
- Targeted therapy
- Breast Conservation Surgeries
- Drain Less Oncoplasty Surgeries
- Reconstruction with autologous and synthetic implants.
- Approximately 50% of cancer patients can benefit from radiation treatment in the management of their disease. The treatment can provide complete responses along with no recurrences. Radiation treatment not only affects tumours but also normal tissues which is why radiation doses need to be delivered within highly controlled tolerances and this precise application requires specialized equipment operated by highly skilled medical personnel.
The most important and always underrated aspect is the psychological and emotional support for the patient. The social stigma associated with the cancer and the path of treatment, recovery to be discussed with the patient and the family before the treatment. There are various lacunae that is seen during the journey of treatment of the patient, to reduce this, medical professionals at SPARSH Hospitals are trying their best to close the care gap by actively involving the patient, attenders and society to bring the best care and win over cancer and help patient to be back to their lives.
Choose health today for a brighter, cancer-free tomorrow. Let’s come together to win over cancer!