Time to divert our attention and focus on Breast Cancer Prevention

Healthcare systems across the world have been striving to contain the impact on people, and available resources in many countries like India have been insufficient.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an enormous toll on health systems across the globe. Most of the year has been spent tackling the spread of diseases with innovative efforts, technologies and resources being invested into it. While the world is busy battling the pandemic, there is a growing concern about the impact on people living with non-communicable diseases such as breast cancer. Healthcare systems across the world have been striving to contain the impact on people, and available resources in many countries like India have been insufficient.

According to the estimates of the National Cancer Registry Programme Report 2020, released by the ICMR in association with the National Centre for Disease Informatics & Research (NCDIR) Bengaluru, there will be about 13.9 lakhs cancer cases in 2020 which is likely to increase to 15.7 lakhs by 2025, based on current trends. Among women, breast cancers are estimated to contribute 2.0 lakhs (14.8%) of the total cancer burden. India’s high death rate from breast cancer is attributable to multiple aspects such as limited access to timely diagnosis and effective treatment.

October is celebrated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month to educate and create awareness about the most common disease among women. As we cast a light on this day aimed at raising awareness, we cannot forgo the importance of prevention, detection and treatment.

Despite the innovations in treatment and various awareness campaigns, in India, the risks associated with breast cancer continue to rise. Doctors believe that mammography is the best way for detecting breast cancer at its nascent stage. However, in India, it has still not been widely adopted as compared to other parts of the world, despite its numerous advantages over other screening methods. With regular mammography tests, it can increase the chances of treatment and survival rate amongst suffering patients.

While it is recommended that breast cancer patients should avoid exposure to the virus, the reality is that the treatment is highly time-sensitive and is delivered swiftly in clinical settings only. In order to be cured, breast cancer must be detected early, which means being vigilant about initial signs, and seeking immediate care.

The stress on early diagnosis has always been there but in this time of Covid-19, focused efforts are required to increase awareness around early diagnosis through breast self-examination. Also, educate women on the treatments available and encourage them to come forward. Another important step that should be taken by the healthcare industry and policymakers to safeguard breast cancer care is to ensure that patients retain physical and financial access to expert health services. This is a crucial step in treatment of the disease. However, a key challenge for healthcare providers and government is to ensure that the patients are provided with clear and trustworthy information about how to manage their disease within the spread of Covid-19.

The month of October is observed as breast cancer awareness month. It is time for women to talk to their doctors about breast cancer, know their risk factors, understand screening recommendations and be positive in early detection. If you notice any changes in your breasts, schedule your mammogram appointment with your physician. The most common physical change you may notice is a breast lump. Fronting an unclear diagnosis is frightening, but a proper Mammogram Test along with expert consultation can understand your fear and needs.

The COVID-19 is an emerging pandemic that is here with us for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it is important to address other major illnesses which coexist with it. Breast cancer has been a major concern among women for many years; hence, cancer care should be a matter of urgent concern in the country. Regularly spreading awareness and conducting screening programs to fight this burden can expand breast cancer care for women in India. Fujifilm India urges women to get a preventive breast cancer examination as early diagnosis is the only key to survival. With a positive mindset and an unwavering will, one can win half the battle against it.

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