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Ways to Manage Breast, Ovarian Cancers Underlined

Times of India
02 January 2011
Pune, India

Speaking about current guidelines in the treatment of breast and ovarian cancers, experts emphasised here on Sunday during a day–long medical conference that both conditions are potentially curable if detected at an early stage.

As many as 200 medical experts from Maharashtra were in the city as part of the conference of the Breast and Gynaec Oncology Group, a new initiative of the Ruby Hall Cancer Centre.

Inaugurating the conference on Sunday, actor Mrinal Kulkarni said, "Actors can act as a bridge between the public and doctors to spread awareness about the medical condition, since there is great fear and stigma attached to cancer."

Experts from the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) cancer surgeon and associate professor of gynaec–oncology Amita Maheshwari, associate professor of medical oncology Sudeep Gupta and additional professor of preventive oncology Sharmila Pimple underlined the guidelines for the management of breast and ovarian cancer. They showed delegates the exact surgical technique of the ovarian cancer surgery with the help of videos. They spoke of newer medicines as well as new advances in chemotherapy and targeted therapy like herceptin and lapatinib. Nuances of treating breast cancer in pregnant women was discussed, as also changes in chemotherapy treatment and the timing of surgery in pregnancy.

Later, there was a discussion about cancer screening, where early diagnosis by using simple techniques like visual inspection (after application of lugols iodine and acetic acid) was described. The role of mammography in diagnosing breast cancers at least two years in advance was stressed upon.

Pimple said, "Clinical breast examination by trained personnel could be a cost–effective alternative for early detection in rural areas."

The other important points that came up during the conference were appropriate approaches in cancer surgery like removing the ovarian tumour without spillage, the technique of removal of lymph nodes and importance of the preservation fertility after the surgery.

Cancer surgeon Rakesh Neve of the Ruby Hall Cancer Centre said, "Breast cancers are increasing in urban centres and state–of–the–art treatment can cure most of the people diagnosed with it if the condition is detected early. Cancer need not involve removal of a breast in a woman, we can conserve the breast and achieve a good cosmetic and oncology outcome."

Minish Jain, chief medical oncologist, announced the formation of the breast gynaec group, which would have regular academic meetings to update first care–givers with the latest knowledge.

Meanwhile, according to information given by the government–aided Cancer Registry in Barshi, there has been a regular campaign against cervical cancer for the last 30 years in India, but this has had little impact on the morbidity and mortality related to the disease, with India ranking fourth world–wide as far as cancer–related mortality is concerned.

It was estimated that the number of deaths due to cervical cancer would rise to 79,000 by 2010. Meanwhile, these two types of cancer mainly affect women between the age of 40 and 55 years, especially those from the lower economic status, since they are unable to afford regular health check–ups. In urban areas, cancer of the cervix accounts for over 40 per cent of cancers, while in rural areas it accounts for 65 per cent.

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