Jeanne Mulford talks of own battle to spread breast cancer message

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New Delhi, Oct 25 (UNI) Ms Jeanne Mulford, wife of US ambassador to India, herself a breast cancer survivor, today urged women to go for regular mammograms and clinical breast checkups to help prevent spread of cancer.

Coming out in public about her experience for the very first time, Ms Mulford said, ''I was not afraid of cancer. It gave me an opportunity to be courageous and strong. We must take time off to spend it on something that can save our lives.'' She was speaking at a press conference organised by the US embassy here to spread awareness about breast cancer, which is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women.

Admitting that initially she felt inhibited about making public her ailment, she said later she learnt to deal with it.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Vineet Gupta of the Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad, said there is detection of at least one breast cancer case in India every six and half minutes.

Previously, it was known to be predominant in Western countries but today it is a global pandemic. Of the 1.2 million new cases estimated in 2005, almost 45 per cent occured in developing countries, he said.

He also pointed out that almost three-fourths of the total 400,000 deaths worldwide occur in the developing world.

Regretting that there is a lack of awareness about breast cancer, Dr Gupta urged women, especially in the age 40-plus category, to come forward for clinical examinations.

''Chances of women getting breast cancer increases with age. ''By age 40, one in 235 get it and by age 60, it increases to one in 23 and by 80 years, its one out of ten,'' he said.

He said self examination may be done, with the help of qualified persons but it is not a sure-shot way to detect cancer.

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