In India, over 1.5 lakh women are being diagnosed with breast cancer every year, making it the most common form of cancer affecting women in the country. In fact, one out of every 22 women is estimated to face the disease during her lifetime. Blame it on limited awareness or lack of nation-wide screening programmes, there has been no stopping the steady rise of the number of cases of breast cancer in India, especially among the population between the age of 25 to 50 years.
In an attempt to change the awareness scenario and to reach out to as many women as possible through digitisation, a pioneer in breast cancer care in India and abroad, Dr Raghu Ram, and Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan launched a mobile app, 'ABC of Breast Health', on Wednesday. The app, conceived, created and designed by Ushalaxmi Breast Cancer Foundation, Hyderabad, claims to be the world's first app that covers every aspect of breast health in 12 Indian languages—Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Oriya, Assamese, English and Hindi.
In an intro to the app, Ram, who is also the director of Ushalaxmi Breast Cancer Foundation, says in a note to users: “Breast Cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in India. In many parts of the country, it is a 'taboo' - a 'closet' issue that is not openly discussed. Due to lack of awareness, more than 60 per cent of breast cancers present in the advanced stages, with most succumbing within a year of being diagnosed.”
Ram says that the 'ABC of Breast Health' app is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India initiative. Through this app, the foundation aims to make available information about every aspect of breast cancer and benign non-cancer breast health issues in simple easy-to-understand digital format.
“This world's FIRST landmark initiative using Digital Media transcribed in all the commonly spoken languages aims to empower the Nation about various aspects of Breast Health, and equally, better prepare people to make informed decisions, thus filling a huge void in the delivery of Breast Health Care in India,” said Ram, in his note to users of the app.
Unlike most health apps that are loaded with medical information that a user might find hard to grasp or remember, this interactive app has a simple and user-friendly interface, with information presented in the most simple way. A first-time user is taken through an interesting quiz, busting myths about breast cancer and explaining facts. One example is, how breast cancer can affect men, too, as both men and women have breast tissue. Also, that each year a small proportion of men are diagnosed with breast cancer. The facts are backed with medical reasons and statistics, in a short paragraph.
The app has all you need to know about breast cancer—symptoms, screening, types of tumours, treatment options, surgical procedures, methods for breast conservation and reconstruction, genetic risk and more—within a few taps of your finger.
Going beyond breast cancer, the app also offers information about benign breast issues, digging deep into health conditions such as cyclical and non-cyclical breast pain, breast cyst, benign phyllodes tumour etc.
In addition, users can download various editions of Pink Connexion, a quarterly breast health newsletter published by Ushalaxmi Breast Cancer Foundation.
The 'ABC of Breast Health' app is available on Google Play and Apple for free download.