THE WEEK seminar: Experts agree on need to be vigilant against breast cancer

Breast cancer is highly preventable and highly curative

58-A-panel-discussion-on-breast-cancer-held-by-THE-WEEK Half the battle: A panel discussion on breast cancer held by THE WEEK in association with Apollo Cancer Centres in Mumbai.

Breast cancer has surpassed cervical cancer as the most prevalent cancer in India. As a woman gets older, there is a higher chance of her getting breast cancer. A mammogram is recommended once in a few years after the age of 40. Women who are obese are predisposed to breast cancer. These and other pertinent aspects came up at the seminar on breast cancer held by THE WEEK in association with Apollo Cancer Centres on October 29 in Mumbai. On the panel were leading cancer specialists from Apollo Hospital in Navi Mumbai―Dr Anil D’Cruz, director, oncology services, Dr Aneeta Bajaj, consultant radiologist, Dr Sandip Bipte, consultant breast oncoplastic surgeon, Dr Sandeep De, consultant radiation oncologist, Dr Rituparna Ghosh, consultant psychologist, Varsha Gorey, senior clinical nutritionist, and Dr Shalushubham Keni, consultant physiotherapist. Citing the numbers shared by Global Cancer Observatory, which releases data on cancer, Dr D’Cruz said the global incidence of cancer has increased exponentially over the years, from 12 million in 2012 to 18 million in 2018, and 19.3 million in 2020. Said Dr Bajaj, “While until now two-thirds of all cancers were in developed nations and one-third in developing nations, the situation will reverse soon.”

In case of breast cancer, the lumps or lesions can, at times, be completely missed out if the breast tissues are dense, said Dr Bajaj. “That is why self-examination is essential for a woman to know the initial signs. This should be followed with a clinical examination and a mammogram,” he said. Breast reconstruction surgery, said Dr Bipte, has been one of the most revolutionising aspects of breast cancer treatment. “Gone are the days when the patient would be required to stay back in the hospital for the surgery. This is a day surgery and it is carried out with such finesse that one cannot make out the difference between the natural breast and the affected breast,” he said.

All experts agreed on the need to be vigilant against breast cancer. Breast cancer is highly preventable and highly curable; the earlier it is detected, the better are the chances of effective treatment and survival.