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Year 2011

Don’t Ignore That Painless Lump

Times of India
22 October 2011
By Kounteya Sinha

Don’t Ignore That Painless Lump
Alump on her underarm had been bothering interior designer Sonia Singh (47) for months, and though painless, it was growing in size. Finally, Sonia decided to visit Dr Pankaj Garg at Fortis Hospital, Chandigarh. A clinical examination, imaging and needle test confirmed that she was suffering from advanced breast cancer.

“I asked her why she came to us so late when the lump has been around for months?” Garg asked. To which she had replied, “It was painless, so I didn’t think it was harmful.”

Garg who conducted a study of over 1,000 women in Chandigarh to understand their perception of breast cancer found that over 82% didn’t know that early breast cancer was painless. “Most think that a painless lump in the breast is harmless. Women should report all types of lumps to their doctors; this will help in early diagnosis and possibly even a complete cure,” he said. Garg’s study found that over 80% patients didn’t think that a lump in the armpit was a sign of early cancer.

Over one-third thought that breast pain was the important symptom of early cancer. The misconception that “pain is an important sign” is prevalent in India, and is evident in the fact that 70% of breast cancer cases are detected late as compared to developed nations, where late detection is 20%. Dr Siddharth Sahni, HoD of breast cancer surgery at BLK Super Speciality Hospital says breast cancer, if detected in Stage 1, has a nearly 98% cure rate.

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