Breast cancer is not only limited to older women: Doctor

Breast is one of the common types of cancers seen in women. Many women fail to notice changes in the breast or neglect them.

Breast cancer is not only limited to older women: Doctor

Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road launched its own Breast Cancer Support Group, at the facility to spread awareness among all generations. The aim is to spread the message that breast cancer patients have a good survival rate and can lead a normal life.

Experts Dr Aditi Agrawal, Consultant Breast Oncosurgeon, and Dr Atul Narayankar, Consultant Medical Oncology, addressed the event by educating everyone about the importance of regular mammograms, breast self-examination, diagnosis, counselling, the right treatment approach, quality care, and maintaining a well-balanced diet and exercise routine after getting diagnosed with breast cancer.

The program witnessed the participation of 30-40 newly diagnosed patients and breast cancer warriors who underwent a mastectomy, partial breast reconstruction, and full breast reconstruction to win over breast cancer. There were also new patients who recently embarked on their journey with breast cancer.

There is a growing burden of breast cancer in India. Lack of awareness regarding breast cancer led to higher mortality and morbidity rates in the patients. The risk factors for this cancer are smoking, alcohol, family history, late marriages, and avoiding breastfeeding, and the treatment of the disease is based on the stage of cancer. The objective of this support group is to know that breast cancer patients have good survival and they can lead a normal life after completion of treatment though there would be regular follow-ups.

Dr Aditi Agrawal, Consultant Breast Oncosurgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road said, “Breast is one of the common types of cancers seen in women. Many women fail to notice changes in the breast or neglect them, suffer in silence and lose their precious lives. There are many myths related to breast cancer that can keep one away from seeking timely help. Timely screening, diagnosis, and an array of treatment options can save lives. The patient will have to get support to cope with the physical and emotional changes of cancer and follow the instructions of the doctors to ensure a good prognosis of the disease. We want every woman to know that she should opt for self-examination at 20, clinical examination after 30, and mammography after 40 years on a regular basis.

Dr Atul Narayankar, Consultant Medical Oncology said, “Breast cancer is not only limited to older women. Nowadays, it is predominantly seen in the younger population. Many women get depressed and go through a wide range of emotions. The diagnosis and treatment take a toll on one’s mental and physical well-being. Losing breast due to mastectomy is associated with dissatisfaction with appearance, perceived loss of femininity, and body image and integrity. It can take some time for a woman to adjust to a new body shape after breast cancer surgery. We have come up with a support group to send the message that breast cancer is preventable when diagnosed and treated during its early stages. We have a multi-disciplinary team of specialists who take the history of the patient and conduct a physical examination to suggest appropriate treatment. Women should have a proactive approach and their partners, friends, and family members also encourage them to take utmost care of themselves. Remember, together we can fight breast cancer wholeheartedly.”

"Breast cancer diagnosis was shocking for me. I just couldn’t come to terms with the diagnosis. I was unaware of the treatment process. But the prompt treatment given made my journey to fight the disease smoother. Breast cancer can strike anyone at any time. So, women should conduct breast self-examination and report any changes in the breast to their treating doctors. I am a proud breast cancer survivor and thank the hospital for taking such a big step in helping others to clear their doubts and take utmost care of their health. Patients lose hair or have other issues due to chemotherapy, and need support. I hope I am able to encourage others like me to battle cancer and conquer it. Do whatever it takes to become a survivor," concluded the breast cancer warrior Shalini.

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