What is the present status of breast cancer in India?
Breast cancer affects 1.5 million women annually, causing the largest number of cancer-related deaths. More cases of breast cancer are being diagnosed in the developing world thanks to increased urbanization, increased life expectancy, and adoption of Western lifestyles. While risk reduction is possible to an extent, most breast cancers that occur in middle- and low-income countries like India cannot be eliminated as they are diagnosed at very late stages. Cases of breast cancer, especially in the 30 – 40 age group, have overtaken cervical cancer as the most common cancer in Indian females. A 2017 study found high incidences of breast cancer in Delhi – 41 per 100,000 women – followed by 37.9 in Chennai, 34.4 in Bangalore, and 33.7 in Thiruvananthapuram District. Breast cancer cases are expected to nearly double by 2020. The survival rate in the country is also concerning, with just 66.1 percent of women diagnosed with the condition between 2010 and 2014 still surviving. In contrast, Australia and America have survival rates as high as 90 percent. Increased focus on primary prevention, secondary prevention, treatment, palliative care, pathology, and translational research is the best way to combat the creeping threat of breast cancer. Plus, systematic efforts are required to research, preserve, and promote factors that shield Indian women from breast cancer without costing a bomb.
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