The burden of breast cancer in the country is poised to double by 2020 even as it has already upstaged cervical cancer in terms of number of incidences.
Lack of awareness coupled with an absence of proper screening mechanisms at the community-level to detect the disease at an early stage and thus ensure prompt and adequate treatment is proving the bane, experts have warned.
The issue has raised concern as trends reveal that the disease is afflicting the younger age groups in a more aggressive manner.
More and more women in the age-group of 40s, 30s and even as early as 20s are falling victim to breast cancer. The incidence is ballooning under the impact of rapid westernisation of the society with women adopting lifestyle changes like sedentary habits, late marriage, late motherhood and less breastfeeding, which are prime factors for the disease.
Though no concrete statistics is available, it is estimated that as high as 1 lakh to 1.25 lakh new cases of breast cancer are added to the existing load every year. And a major chunk of them report at advanced stages when the cancer has progressed beyond cure.
“Survival rate in breast cancer has improved substantially in the recent years due to advancements in diagnosis and treatment procedures. In the Western countries, the mortality due to breast cancer has reduced from 50 per cent to 30 per cent, but in India it continues to be high due to late detection and reporting to treatment”, senior surgical oncologist and Medical Director of HCG Panda Curie Cancer Hospital Prof Krupasindhu Panda said.
Awareness among the women to recognise the signs and symptoms early and seek appropriate treatment is key to check the surge of breast cancer. As high as 90 per cent of breast cancer cases are curable if detected in Stage 1, Prof Panda said.
While the Breast Cancer Awareness month is being observed in October, the HCG Panda Curie Hospital is set to organise a Pink Ribbon Marathon walk on October 30, from Circuit House to Nari Seva Sadan here.
The hospital will also organise cancer awareness programmes along with a scientific seminar attended by secretary-general of Breast Cancer Foundation of India Prof M K Mahajan.