Early detection need of the hour to prevent breast cancer

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New Delhi, Nov 14 (UNI) In the absence of any breast cancer speciality unit in hospitals in the country for early detection of the ailment, the number of new cases is likely to go up to 150,000 by 2015, experts today said.

Addressing a panel discussion on ''Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness'' at the American Center here, Dr Atul Gupta of Apollo hospital said if early detection is undertaken, 95 per cent of the patients can survive, they said calling for making mammographes a mass movement.

Talking about the need for prevention and more awareness on the issue, he said mammographes is safe and affordable but so far, there is no mass movement for upgrading it here.

Sharing his view, Dr Sidhartha Sahni said doing a mammogram is a necessity as it saves life. However, people here do not take it seriously. They usually dismiss it saying ''We don't have a family history of breast cancer.'' When breast cancer is detected early, treatment is more effective, giving hope to patients and helping save lives, they said.

However, the stigmatisation of breast cancer as being shameful or embarrassing further prevents women from seeking life-saving treatment and diagnostic testing.

By making healthy lifestyle choices and exercising regularly, individuals can help reduce the risk of deveolping breast cancer.

They said mammographes, regular self-exams, and clinical breast examination are also vital because they can help doctors diagnose cancer before it has a chance to spread.

Public awareness about the disease has increased dramatically over the past few years, but misleading ideas still persist and the thought that only women can get breast cancer is a myth, according to Daily News and Analysis(DNA).

Men have breast tissue, so it is possible for them to develop breast cancer also. As women have many more breast cells than men do, and perhaps because their breast cells are constantly exposed to the growth-promoting effects of female hormones, breast cancer is much more common in women, it said.

''Hormonal influences play a role in the development of breast cancer. Women who start their periods at an early age(11 or younger) or experience a late menopause (55 or older) have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Again, having a child before 30 years may provide some protection, and having no children may increase the risk of developing breast cancer,'' informed Dr Puja Shukla.

''Nowadays, unfortunately, young women are being diagnosed in their teens, twenties and thirties. The percentage is definitely very low, but it can still happen to anyone, even men,'' she said.

There is also a misconception that if breast cancer doesn't run in the family, you won't get it. But the fact is that most women who get breast cancer have no known family history of the disease.

Increasing age is also the biggest single risk factor for breast cancer If there is a family history of breast cancer, the risk may be elevated a little, a lot, or not at all.

A woman above fifty needs clinical examination every year while younger women can go for check up every three years, Dr Gupta said.

A survivor of breast cancer said the greatest tragedy is that we ourselves do not accept that we have the problem.

''Although things have changed over the last fifty years, the mindset of women in the country has not changed and women are still neglected. We need good support from the family while dealing with the disease,'' she said.

Susan G Komen for the Cure Foundation, the global breast cancer movement in United States, report said today more than one million women and men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and more than 400,000 people dying from it.

In view of this, the foundation is launching an unprecedented global expansion to create sustainable breast cancer outreach and has selected India as one of the ten countries to participate in the global initiative to raise awareness and fight against breast cancer in the world.

UNI

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