Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Why are breast cancer cases on the rise among 20 to 30 year old women?
How can we maximize the chance of catching breast cancer early? Why increase the average age shift from 40-70 years to 30-50 years? Read here
October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and today, we will throw some light on the topic. Across the world, many women are diagnosed with breast cancer. And nowadays, breast cancer is prevalent in the younger age group women, in their thirties and forties, being diagnosed with breast cancer. This can also be attributed to increasing awareness of the disease but genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors are also at play. We often hear that early diagnosis is important. So how can we maximize the chance of catching breast cancer early? Here are some points to note.
We talked to Dr. Baswant Rao Malipatil, Consultant - Medical Oncologist at Columbia Asia Hospital, Sarjapur Road- a unit of Manipal Hospitals, Bangalore. He spoke about some of the common questions that we all have about breast cancer. Also, what should one do after she post-diagnoses breast cancer and how common is breast cancer in India?
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What is the cause of the increase in the shift of the average age from 40-70 years to 30-50 years?
Ans: In general, when a person is >35 years of age during the 1st pregnancy, with an absence of breastfeeding, the null parity increases the risk for breast cancer. Of late, alcohol consumption and smoking tobacco among several Indian women have also increased breast cancer risk.
How can gene testing help in early diagnosis
Ans: There are certain genetic mutations (e.g. BRCA 1&2), if found positive, it may increase the risk of development of breast cancer by many fold. Genetic test is not advisable for all- it is recommended for only those women where doctors think it may be required (e.g. Family history of cancer). If a person is considered at a higher risk for developing cancer (based on genetic tests), they will be kept under rigorous screening to detect cancer at early stages otherwise, as such genetic tests won't help in the early detection of cancer per se.
What are the immediate steps post-diagnosis?
Ans: If a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, they will undergo additional tests to know the stage of breast cancer and whether they are sensitive to any hormone therapy (ER & PR) or targeted therapy (HER2). Only based on these tests further treatment will be decided.
How common is breast cancer in India?
Ans: Breast cancer falls under one of the top five types of cancers in India (others being lung cancer, mouth, cervix). The estimated (projected) incidence of breast cancer in Indian women is 1 in 29 !!
What food kills breast cancer cells?
No proven food can kill cancer cells in the breast.