The Bold Voice of J&K

Lack of facilities acting as barrier in early detection of breast cancer

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SHAKEELA ANDRABI

SRINAGAR: The month of October is globally observed as breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent and fatal forms of cancer. Government data shows that, on average, nearly four out of ten women diagnosed with breast cancer succumbed to disease in India in 2020.The Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare shared data related to breast cancer in Lok Sabha during recently concluded monsoon session. In 2020, more than two lakh women in India were estimated to have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 76,000 deaths were reported. As per the 2020 National Cancer Registry Program Report, the number is expected to rise to more than 2.3 lakh cases in 2025.
During past few years, Kashmir valley is witnessing rise in breast cancer cases. Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) sought mammography facilities at valley’s primary health centers for early detection of breast cancer cases. “Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer,” said DAK President. He said that mammogram is just like X-ray of breast. “It is the best way to detect breast cancer early before there are signs and symptoms of the disease. Breast cancer is now the most common cancer among Kashmiri women and women should be screened annually after they turn 40,” he said.
“Those who are at high risk for breast cancer, such as women with family history of breast cancer or genetic risk factors for the disease should start screening before age 40,” he added.
The DAK President said results from many decades of research clearly show that women, who have regular mammograms, are more likely to have found breast cancer earlier and are less likely to need aggressive treatment. He said for a population of 7 million people, Kashmir has only one machine at GMC Srinagar. “Lack of screening facilities is a barrier for early detection of breast cancer cases,” said DAK President. “Women in Kashmir because of socio-cultural structure and religious values are hesitant to get their breasts examined by male health-care providers, hence the need for more women specialists in peripheral healthcare,” he said. “There is a dire need to educate and make women aware about the importance of screening which can catch the disease early when it is most curable,” he said.

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