Pune gripped by mysterious breast disease

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Pune, March 30: Puneites! If you find a lump on your breast, oozing discharge, show a doctor immideately; not for Cancer, but for a different kind of a mysterious disease that is yet to be identified by a medical fraternity here.

Such multiple cases have come to the notice of the doctors in Pune, who have been left bewildered and clueless about it. Showing classical symptoms of a cancerous tumor, the indications include hardening of the breast, pus formation, and changing shape of the breast.


In fact, it is being said that there is an alarming trend in the number of women complaining about the disease. The symptoms can be mostly found in lactating mothers, TB patients and diabetics. However, these are being observed among younger women too who have little or no history of ailments.

Every month, at least 6 new cases are detected, compared to five years ago, when only one or two showed up every two month.

Dr Anupama Mane, consultant breast surgeon at Ruby Hall Clinic, said, "The shift in age and the increase in numbers are worrisome. The troublesome part is that no cause has been detected so far. There are several theories, but nothing has been fixed yet. This means we lack a standard protocol for treating such cases and the infection takes a long time to heal - sometimes several months."

Dr CB Koppiker, a senior breast cancer surgeon reiterated saying,"It is an immunological phenomenon, but nobody knows the reason behind the sudden spurt in breast infection. The cases were reported in the past, too, but not with such severity and large numbers. Every month, we see around six new cases and 15 to 30 coming back from before. It resembles breast TB but it isn't that and we cannot come up with a concrete reason. Many a time, due to a misdiagnosis, patients go straight for surgery. But, if this is picked up on early, this isn't required."

Expressing his concern over the growing number of such cases was Dr Rajiv Sarin, genetics head at the Tata Memorial Hospital who said, "Such cases are rare and have become alarmingly common now. We are discussing the matter with oncologists across the state. We are guessing that the rise in numbers is due to the increase in hormonal imbalance, which can cause lumps in the breasts. These may be further aggravated due to infections and low immunity. However, extensive study is required for a proper diagnosis."

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