‘Breast cancer cases on the rise in urban areas’

‘Breast cancer cases on the rise in urban areas’ One in every 28 women in India gets breast cancer during her lifetime, a recent study revealed. The figure is higher in urban areas with one in every 22 women developing the disease. Last year, over 70,000 women died due to breast cancer. “What is more worrying is that the average age of high risk group in India has come down to 35-45 years from over 50 years of age few years ago,” said Dr. B. Ravishankar, senior oncologist of Queen’s NRI Hospital and added, “In fact, one of my youngest patients of breast cancer in Visakhapatnam is just 23 years old.” To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, experts from Queen’s NRI Hospital organised an awareness rally on Wednesday at R.K. Beach. A team of oncologists, comprising surgical medical and radiation oncologists, and other members of the hospital took part in the rally that started from Kali Temple and terminated at YMCA. The Breast Cancer Awareness Month is marked across the world every October, to increase awareness on early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease, according to World Health Organisation. There are 1.38 million new cases and 4.58 lakh deaths from breast cancer each year (IARC Globocan, 2008). Speaking to The Hindu, Dr Ravishankar said that breast cancer was the most common cancer among urban women in India. “Today, we are paying the price of leading an irregular and westernised lifestyle which is leading to higher incidences of cancer. To counter this, exercising for at least 20 to 30 minutes should be a part of the daily regime,” he said. Women who have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer must get a thorough medical check-up done post 40, he added. “Women are still reluctant to deal with the issue of breast cancer. In most cases, the cancer is in an advanced stage. Early detection remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control. With proper diagnosis and treatment after that, there is a good chance of cure,” Dr. Ravishankar added.