Initiate early breast cancer screening in your practice

Indian-ladies Breast Cancer Overview

The escalation of breast cancer in India is affecting both women and men, but it is more common in women. Recent estimates show one in 25 Indian women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and the incidence of breast cancer is sharply rising. India’s population is predominantly young (about 87% of the country is less than 50 years old) and since breast cancer affects Indian women early in life, there is an urgent need for doctors to begin screening patients early for breast cancer. Studies show that peak age for breast cancer in Asians is 40-50. The Union Health Ministry announced in 2012 the need to start breast cancer screening at an early age of 30.

Key Point: Breast cancer has a high survival rate if detected early. Doctors in India need to implement yearly screening for breast cancer in patients at a young age of 30 years in order to detect cancer in the early stages. Painless lumps are not always harmless, so patients should be screened by a doctor using professional tools and techniques to evaluate breast lumps. All healthcare physicians, from general practitioners to specialized doctors, can implement breast cancer screening.

Importance of Early Detection

Alarmingly, most Indian women do not get early detection examinations for breast cancer – in many cases they are diagnosed when their cancer is already in the late stages. Breast cancer often gets detected when there is already an existing complaint for which an x-ray analysis is performed. It is a treatable cancer when detected early, with a five year patient survival rate of 97%. There are a few cancer centers of excellence in India, but the majority of breast cancer patients do not have access to adequate treatment due to lack of skills and financial resources. India’s main challenge is to reduce the incidence of patients with late-stage breast cancer to increase survival in cancer patients.

To work towards this goal, the most important change to make...

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