Fact about breast cancer in India

Fact about breast cancer in India




Breast cancer has been on the rise for the past few decades in India, so much so that it has become the second deadliest health issue, first being cardiovascular diseases.That also makes it the most commonly diagnosed cancer amongst Indian women, accounting for 14% of all cancers in this category. 

Women affected in India are younger by about 20 years than those in the West. Almost half of the patients belong to the 25-50 years age group which is a concerning statistic. And the number of patients in their 30s and 40s is only rising.

The awareness about this cancer is extremely low in the country, which results in later diagnosis. More than 50% of the patients are in the stages 3 and 4 of breast cancer. This lowers the post-cancer survival rates which are about 66% in India, as compared with that of the United States at 90%. Women can self-diagnose the cancerous outgrowths which are in the form of lumps but the low awareness also disrupts its chances. Cancer spreads and worsens with time which makes it difficult to treat or even untreatable in stages as late as 4, which covers about 15-20% of the first time patients. Early detection and rapid medical treatment can improve the chances of survival for a treatable illness like Breast Cancer. Studies have found that survival rates fall from 75% to about 5% for stages 1 and 4 respectively

The most aggressive breast cancer in the world is Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBD) that tests negative for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and excess HER2 protein. India has the highest number of cases of this cancer. 

The urban group of Indian women has a higher rate of breast cancer development at about 1 in every 22 women while in the rural group it is at about 1 in every 60 women. A change in lifestyle is also one of the leading causes like increase in weight, lack of exercise, hormone replacement therapy, rising stress levels, late work shifts, etc. 

Feasibility issues, both on individual and national level, also act as a barrier against smooth and early treatments. India is one of the poorest countries in the world. It also lacks a well-structured and working health care system. People are driven below the poverty line after paying for the cancer treatment bills. There’s also a huge deficiency of radiologists and oncologists in the country. The ratio of patients per radiologist is 100,000 to 1. A later stage of cancer demands a longer and much more elaborate and complex treatment which India lacks in each and every aspect.

Early detection is definitely the most important requirement here. It not only ensures better survival chances, but is also far less expensive. Discussions about women’s bodies are considered taboo in a largely conservative country like India. Spreading awareness about it is extremely necessary as cancer treatments affects not just the patient but their families too, both emotionally and financially.

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