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The Pink caution

Indian Express
06 October 2010
By Anuradha Mascarenhas D

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, city oncologists are going all out to fight the disease
A LARMED at the increasing incidence of breast A A cancer among young urban women, oncologists in the city are actively campaigning for preventive check–ups this October.

The Pink caution
Right from taking a `mammo bus' sa st st to cooperative societies and corporate firms to carry out ca mammography tests and biopsies to celebrating Navratri N with `pink ribbon' garlands (pink ribbon is the universal symbol of breast cancer), oncologists have taken up the Pr fight with a purpose during this month, which is being obbr served as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. of The risk of breast cancer in urban women is as high as 1 in 22, as compared to the rural areas, where this risk is relatively much lower, that is1 in 60, says breast surgeon Dr Shekha Kulkarni.

According to Dr Aruna Chan dorkar, pathologist, "We conduct several tests for the detection of various diseases and yes, at least 2–3 cases of breast cancer are being diagnosed every week."

Breast cancer is the prime killer in women and early diagnosis is the key factor towards improving survival. Mammogra phy is a sensitive screening tool to diagnose breast can cer at an early stage and treatment is possible without radical surgery, she pointed out.

Concerned about the rise in the incidence of breast cancer, Dr Shona Nag, an oncologist at Jehangir hospital and Sahyadri group of hospitals, has undertaken a collaborative study with the Tata Memorial hospital in Mumbai to study 1000 women with breast cancer and understand the risk factors pecu liar to the disease. "We have enrolled 250 women from Pune so far," says Nag, adding that the study aims at identifying the various sub–types of breast cancer.

Aastha a breast cancer support group, has decided to celebrate Navratri in a unique manner by taking a gar land made of `pink ribbon' and offering it to the Goddess Durga at Chatushrungi, says Kulkarni. On a positive note though, oncologists agree that World Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year brings good news for the thousands of women diagnosed with early breast cancer. Many studies are showing that most adjuvant (treatment in early stage) therapies are important in the fight against breast cancer as they decrease recurrence by one third, says Dr Nag.

Dr C B Koppiker, oncologist and in–charge of the Prashanti Cancer Care Mission, said that the patients with breast cancer are being diagnosed as early as at 25–28 years of age. However, advances in treatment like onco–plastic surgery helps in not only saving the breast but also in retaining its shape, says Koppiker, who has planned to send a `mammo – bus' to conduct a series of tests at a minimal cost towards the early detection of cancer.

The Breast Cancer Awareness month is observed throughout the month of October across the world. On this occasion, Sahyadri Hospitals in Maharashtra has initiated a month–long Awareness Campaign on Breast Cancer. Sahyadri Hospitals Ltd will organise the Breast Cancer Month across all its units in Pune, Karad & Nerul.

Throughout the month, mammography will be offered free of cost to ladies at SSH Karve Road. Every woman above the age of 40 should get a mammography screening done. Opting for mammography does not mean that one has cancer. It just helps detect breast cancer at an early stage.

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