• oncology
  • author Amit Bansal
  • person October 17, 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2017

  • The pink ribbon is synonymous with the Breast Cancer awareness month encouraging promoters from lengths and breadths of the globe to wear the ribbon during this month to express their advocacy for the cause. Throngs of fundraising marches of supporters are witnessed on this day, wearing the pink ribbons in stride for a cure and prevention of the disease.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is a stigma among a large part of the population still today. To raise breast cancer awareness through education on treatment and symptoms of breast cancer, the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries joined hands with the American Cancer Society to promote the idea of Breast Cancer Awareness month in October that was initiated in 1985. Since then, October is commemorated with activities and workshops organized to support individuals suffering from the disease and disseminate information about breast cancer.

The pink ribbon is synonymous with the Breast Cancer awareness month encouraging promoters from lengths and breadths of the globe to wear the ribbon during this month to express their advocacy for the cause. Throngs of fundraising marches of supporters are witnessed on this day, wearing the pink ribbons in stride for a cure and prevention of the disease.

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Common Facts Breast Cancer Awareness MonthStudies suggest women living in industrialized areas high on air and water pollution are likely to develop breast cancer twice as much as those living in areas with clean air. The presence of nitrogen dioxide in polluted air, created by automobile gasoline and burning fossil fuels, accelerates the chance of developing cancer by 20 percent in women residing in areas with higher nitrogen dioxide concentration.  It should, however, be noted that prevention is cheaper than the cost of curing. The society should exercise pollution regulation measures to curb on health care expenses.

Early Detection of Breast Cancer- The Tips

Dr. Pawan Gupta of Jaypee Hospitals, one of the leading faces of Breast Cancer Treatment in the country cites some of the most tips in order to carefully detect Symptoms of Breast Cancer. Dr. Pawan Gupta states that certain exercises women can perform on her own to detect the same on a weekly or a monthly basis.

Early detection of breast cancer is the key in the treatment and cure of the disease. The predicament is that there is, sometimes, no way of knowing whether you have breast cancer, while the disease may have spread and worsened. Once it has reached the third or last stage, symptoms start to appear. In all probability, regular breast screening could only help in the prevention of breast cancer successfully.

Read out these tips for early detection of breast cancer:

  • Mammography is an important test for breast cancer. It is a kind of X-ray done for the breasts that is continued for two years before any tumor is felt by the doctor or by you. Remember, women aged between 40 to 45 years or older are at a higher risk of breast cancer and, therefore, should undergo a mammogram once a year. Those highly susceptible to the disease should have yearly mammography with an MRI at an early age of 30.
  • If, in any case, imaging tests or physical exams detect any kind of breast change that may indicate breast cancer, then biopsy should be done to make sure of it.
  • Further tests are required if the doctor feels that cancer has spread from the breast to other parts of the body. Some of these tests include CT scans, chest x-rays, MRI scans, PET scans, bone scans, etc.
  • Although breast cancer during pregnancy is rare, it is not impossible to notice a lump or any kind of unusual changes in the breast. If yes, then inform it to the doctor right away.

Aside from the above-mentioned tips to detect breast cancer at an early stage, you should be aware of the following risk factors specifically linked to the disease. They include:

  • Personal history of the disease- Women having breast cancer in one breast are at higher risk of developing cancer in the other breast.
  • Study suggests that almost 80 percent of breast cancer is found in women mostly above the age of 50 years. It, therefore, shows that age is a determining factor of the disease.
  • Genetic reasons like genetic mutations, like changes to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 accelerate chances of the disease.
  • Women who face menopause after the age of 55, menstruate before 12 years and never had children are more vulnerable to the disease.
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If you notice or suffer from any of the above factors, consult your doctor right away. Know these prevention tips to combat the disease.

How to prevent breast cancer?- The Tips

  • Lifestyle changes are most important in minimizing the chances of cancer in the breasts. Limit alcohol intake to less than 1 drink per day.
  • Do not smoke since accumulating evidence link breast cancer with smoking. Women in their premenopausal period have higher chances of getting breast cancer, and the condition is worsened with smoking.
  • Doctors have found that breastfeeding reduces the chances of breast cancer. Women who feed longer have lesser chances of having cancer.
  • Weight is linked to breast cancer as well. Obesity and overweight are the two reasons for developing breast cancer, particularly in women who become obese after menopause.
  • Exposure to radiation and environmental pollution lead to breast cancer. Various medical-imaging methods like high doses of radiation and computerized tomography increase chances of the disease by manifold.
  • The right diet could help in the prevention of breast cancer. You should be aware of the foods that prevent breast cancer include leafy and dark green vegetables, eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, peppers, foods rich in fiber like legumes, whole grains, and beans, foods rich in vitamin D and foods with anti-inflammatory properties.

What are the Treatments available for Breast Cancer?

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to share the type of breast cancer treatments is chosen to depend upon its stage and type of breast cancer.

  • Breast cancer treatment for stages I-IVBreast Cancer Awareness Month

Stage 0– cancer at this stage is non-invasive and is confined within the milk duct. Also known as Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS), it means that cancer has not spread outside the breast, although there are chances of its spreading. Treatment options include breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy.

Stage 1– This type of cancer is relatively small and has either spread to a tiny area in the sentinel lymph nodes or have not spread to any lymph nodes. Treatment for breast cancer stage I includes radiation therapy and surgery, the option in which is decided by the doctor.

Stage 2– This is a little advanced than stage 1 cancer and has only spread to a few close lymph nodes. Treatment options are the same as stage 1 that include surgery and radiation therapy.

Stage 3– This is a more serious stage wherein tumors have grown larger and have spread to the nearby tissues or lymph nodes. Only radiation therapy and surgery are the available treatments.

Stage 4– Also known as metastatic breast cancer, it is the one that has spread outside the breast area in the lymph nodes and in other parts of the body as well. The treatment involves a systematic (drug) therapy.

  • Inflammatory breast cancer- Often, stage 3 and stage 4 are described as inflammatory breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Treatment options include systematic therapies, surgery, local therapies like radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Recurrent breast cancer- Recurrent cancer is when cancer comes back for the second time. Recurrence can be of different types, local which is in the surgery scar or in the same breast, distant or regional, which is in the nearby lymph nodes.
  • Triple-negative breast cancer- This type of cancer grows and spread rapidly to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy is the standard treatment.

Costs Associated with Breast Cancer Treatment

According to data collected from the National Cancer Institute, the average breast cancer treatment cost in women of age 65 and above is $23,078 at the start and $2,207 as continuing cost. It should, however, be noted that breast cancer treatment cost varies, depending upon its stage and condition. Breast cancer treatment cost in India is one-tenth of that of the UK and US. Besides, the cost is on par with most of the developing nations around the world. It goes without explaining, why a first or second stage cancer can be cured at a comparatively lower cost than what is required to treat a third or advanced stage cancer.

In India, the cost of chemotherapy per cycle starts at an approx. US$930 that may go up to an approx. US$15,000. Targeted therapy would cost approx. US$31,000 for five to six sessions. As for radiation therapy, it costs US$2,400 per cycle. A total mastectomy would cost an approx. $22,000, while it would cost US$4,400 in India. Remember, the total cost varies, depending upon the hospital you choose, doctors’ feeds, accommodation, etc.

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Statistics related to Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It has been estimated that by 2017, there will be 252,710 cases of invasive breast cancer in women worldwide. The mortality rate is 20.5 percent per 100,000 women, while it is 0.3 percent per 100,000 men, as per the US statistics, whereas the estimated number of death due to breast cancer worldwide is 40,610 among women. It is likely that about 1 in every 8 US women will develop breast cancer over her lifetime.

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthAccording to US breast cancer statistics 2017, about 30% of the diagnosed cancers will be breast cancer in women. It has been found that there have been more than 1.7 million new cases in 2012, the number of which is likely to shoot up. Women in developed nations have a higher risk of developing the disease than those living in developing countries. What’s alarming is that there is about one case in every 3000 pregnant women who develop breast cancer each year.

If you have any concerns or queries for your friends, Family Members, or yourself do send us the same at contactus@medigence.com. If you feel that there is cause for concern, do visit a doctor near you to seek help and advice on the same. If you wish to go for the Second Opinion of your diagnosis for confirmation or other purposes you can go for our Second Opinion Service. 

We request any and ever women over the age of 35 to get a simple Mammogram checkup this Breast Awareness Month, and spread the word.

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