Cancer rate on the rise in India

Mumbai: Breast cancer and cervical cancer are ranked as the most frequent cancer in Indian women. It has been observed that in India, out of every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one dies of it. India has an estimated population of approximately 2.25 million living with cancer. Every year, over 11,57,294 new cancer patients are registered and 7,84,821 deaths reported due to the disease.

The higher incidence of cervix cancer is attributed to multiple sex partners, early age of sexual contact and viral infection (HPV). Other factors include unhygienic sexual practices, ignorance about the proper cleaning of the female genitals, paucity of proper toilets, inadequate bathing facilities. Additionally, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy food consumption, obesity, stress and smoking have also contributed to the rising incidence for breast cancer.

Dr Ramakant Deshpande, medical oncologist, Asian Cancer Institute, said curative treatment can be offered in early stages of cervix cancer with the help of either surgery, radiation or combination of both. In later stages, chemotherapy may be required along with surgery or radiotherapy. Dr Meghal Sanghavi, surgical oncologist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central, said, “Due to early stage detection one can conserve breast.

A doctor can only decide whether breast conservation is safe or not for their patient. Breast conserving surgery is equally safe as mastectomy or complete removal of breast, also a lot of eligible patients can avoid chemotherapy with the availability of test called oncotype Dx which decides if chemotherapy will benefit them or not,” said Dr Meghal.

She added that the new chemotherapy drugs with proper counselling and good nutrition have much lesser side effects. Moreover, new radiation modalities now only target the diseased area avoiding side effects to the surrounding normal organs. With the availability of new drugs and targeted therapies, patients can a live a quality life even at stage 4.

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