Breast Cancer is spread worldwide, being the most common cause of cancer amongst women and it is the 2ND leading cause of cancer deaths. Even in India it is very common cancer which ultimately leads to death. The incidence is 1.44 lac new cases every year. Breast Cancer is a real burning issue due to the following reasons:
- Age shift (More young ladies affected)
- Rising numbers of cases of breast cancer in India
- Late presentation (This directly decreases long term survival of the patient
- Lack of awareness and Screening (Screening is the single most important factor responsible for better survival of patients in the west)
- Aggressive cancers in young (Generally, the younger the age below menopause, the more aggressive the cancer)
- Late presentation & Decreased survival
Worldwide over all 5 year survival for breast cancer has increased from 75% in 1970’s to almost 89% presently. But in India we barely have any data on survival. Rough estimate from reports 5 year survival is around 60%. This can be explained by following reasons.
- 50% patients of breast cancer present in stages III and IV
- Outcome is not as good as earlier stages
- The western nations have achieved a steadily improving and good survival mainly because of screening of breast cancer
- Cancers in the young, tend to be more aggressive
Modifiable Risk Factors
- Having children
- Birth control
- Hormone therapy after menopause
- Healthy life style
- Physical activity
- Palpable mass in a woman’s breast-potentially serious lesion
- All palpable lesions require evaluation
- Early detection is the key to cure
- Breast self-examination : Every woman should be encouraged to do breast self-examination on monthly basis.
Regular Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) should also be performed by a health practitioner to early detect any signs of Cancers.
- At age 20, CBE every 1 to 3 years
- After age 40, CBE every year
At higher risk: more frequent exams.
- Being over 50 or postmenopausal
- A family history of breast cancer
- Having had no pregnancies or a first pregnancy after age 30
- Heavy alcohol use