Breast cancer is rated as the leading cancer among Indian women with a rate of 25.8 per 100,000 women and mortality 12.7 per 100,000 women. Besides lifestyle and genetic factors, the main reasons for this observed hike in mortality are due to:
lack of inadequate breast cancer screening
- diagnosis of disease at an advanced stage
- inadequate provision of appropriate medical facilities.
- Also, the stigma associated with breast cancer being one of the key reasons for its rising
Because of this, Max Healthcare’s super specialty hospital in Saket, New Delhi has collaborated with Japan’s Fujifilm to train doctors in early detection of breast cancer.
Eminent doctors from all over the world consider early detection as a very important factor in treating breast cancer. Also,70% of cancers in women such as breast, cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers have a higher chance of survival when they are detected at an early stage. Early diagnosis is an essential early diagnosis strategy, especially in a country like ours, because breast cancer is usually detected at later stages in India and there are limited resources.
This strategy can also bring ‘downstaging’ through which there could be an increase in the proportion of cases detected at an early stage. Thereby, increasing the chances of survival.
Screening methods for early detection
- A mammography is a tool used by doctors to screen ‘normal’ women for breast cancer. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast and it can detect breast cancer at a very early stage
- Women at age 40 – 45 or older and those who are at average risk of breast cancer should go for a mammogram once a year.
- Women at high risk should have annual mammograms starting at 30 years of age accompanied by MRI
Types of treatment of breast cancer
Treatment of breast cancer depends on various factors such as
- The subtype of tumor, including hormone receptor status (ER, PR) and HER2 status
- The stage at which the tumor and how far it has spread.
- Genomic markers
- Age, general health, status of menopause, and preferences
- Mutations in inherited breast cancer genes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
People with breast cancer often get a combination of two or more kinds of treatment.
- Surgery: An operation involving the removal of cancer tissue.
- Chemotherapy: Drugs in the form of pills or intravenous or both to kill the cancer cells.
- Hormonal therapy: Works by blocking cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.
- Biological therapy: Mostly given as an adjunct therapy with other treatments to boost the immune system and help the body to fight with cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy: The use of high-energy radiations to kill the cancer cells.
Diet tips to consider during ongoing cancer treatment
Chemotherapy leaves the body in a state of neutropenia i.e. abnormally low levels of neutrophils
in the body. Neutrophils, also known as white blood cells play an important role in the body’s
If you have neutropenia, avoid the following foods:
- unpasteurized or raw milk
- unwashed fresh produce
- red meat
- raw sprouts
- strawberries and fruits that are difficult to clean
- uncovered food items
Diet in breast cancer patients should include antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. High protein sources like legumes and pasteurized dairy products should be consumed. In the case of constipation, high fiber-rich foods such as whole grains should be included in the diet.
Over to you
Breast cancer doesn’t mark the end of life. Strength and determination are all it takes to beat breast cancer. Stay aware and be strong!