Coping with Cancer-Dr.Murali Subramanian

Why Indian women are more prone to Breast cancer

Breast Cancer Treatment in Bangalore | Dr. Murali Subramanian

Breast Cancer Treatment in Bangalore | Women with Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Treatment in Bangalore | Women with Breast Cancer

On a lovely Saturday afternoon, while celebrating my daughter’s fifth birthday, I noticed a lump in my left breast. From the first moment, I was told that I had cancer, not even once, did I ask myself – “why me?”. I worked as a lawyer in a big law firm, and I cared about my status and the money. I considered myself a superwoman, an independent woman who could do everything by herself. I had managed to build a successful career, a happy married life,  have a great child, and keep the house organized and clean.

This is the story of one of my patients ( names withheld for privacy reasons).

After she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and subsequently treated for it, she tried her best to look forward positively. She participated in meditation workshops, met friends, and was now able to ask for help and speak about the things that mattered.

Today, she states that even though initially, she felt like the rug had been pulled out from under her feet, now, when she looks back at her journey, it has been a silver lining in her life.

For the past five years, she has been cancer-free. After hearing about my podcast sessions, she recently reached out to me, suggesting I address the issue of breast cancer in Indian women, so that more women are tested. The lack of awareness has led to a high mortality rate of women in India.

One cannot prevent breast cancer but can increase the survival rates by being aware, informed, and choosing to get diagnosed at the right time. Patients diagnosed with breast cancer need planned and personalized therapy.

Women are prone to Breast Cancer | Breast Cancer Treatment in Bangalore
Women are prone to Breast Cancer | Breast Cancer Treatment in Bangalore

Let me give you some alarming facts about breast cancer in India. I hope that through this, more and more women in India will get themselves screened early.

• Do you know that it is the most common cancer in Indian women?

• Breast cancer accounts for around 32% of female cancers in all cities across India.

• In India, every 4 minutes, one woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.

• Every 12 minutes, there is a woman in India who dies of breast cancer.

• Alarmed? An estimated 70,000 women died of breast cancer in India in 2014, the highest in the world for that year.

• The high mortality rate in India is due to the lack of awareness and delay in screening and diagnosis.

• More than 60% of breast cancer patients in India are suffering from stage 3 and 4, where the chances of survival are meager.

• There are is an increasing number of cases of breast cancer in the age group of 30 to 50 is increasing at an alarming rate.

One fantastic fact I would tell you all today is that breastfeeding often interrupts periods, leading to fewer menstrual cycles and less estrogen exposure. This leads to about a four percent reduction in the risk of breast cancer for every one year of breastfeeding.

Women with breast cancer are at an increased risk of osteoporosis. The hormone, estrogen has a protective effect on bones, and reduced estrogen levels can trigger bone loss.

As with other types of cancers, the survival rate is high if diagnosed early. Here are a few things that all of us need to do

• Be aware and informed about breast cancer diagnosis, symptoms, breast cancer tests, and treatment.

• Be informed about self-tests. Regularly examine your breasts on your own.

• Visit an oncologist if you feel any changes or abnormalities in your breasts.

• Early detection is a real blessing for breast cancer fighters. If detected early, breast cancer can be treated, and you have the chance to defeat cancer and live a healthy life

• Patients diagnosed with breast cancer in Stage 1 and 2 breast cancer can take a recurrence prediction test to determine their recurrence risk score.

• Depending on the recurrence risk score, the oncologist can come up with an effective plan for personalized treatment.

Indian breast cancer patients are younger, with an average age of 46 years. Nearly 50% are diagnosed in the premenopausal age. It has been found that waist size are the major risk factor for breast cancer. We also recommend women get adequate exercise and a healthy diet as the most beneficial lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. In the sincere hope that more and more women in India get aware of breast cancer symptoms and diagnosis and get help as soon as possible.

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