When compared to rural areas, the incidence of breast cancer was more among women in urban areas. The reasons being reduced physical activity, diet changes and late pregnancies.
In general, while there are 15 to 20 cases per lakh population per year from rural areas, there are 40 to 50 cases per lakh population per year from urban parts, according to M.J. Paul, professor of Endocrine Surgery, Christian Medical College.
“Reduced physical activity, diet changes and reproductive practices tend to increase the incidence of breast cancer among women in urban areas,” he said. In the last 10 years, breast cancer had overtaken cervical cancer to become the top cancer among women, he added.
With increased urbanisation, the incidence is going to rise, he pointed out. Every year, CMC receives 500 cases of breast cancer. “Half of them come early, while the remaining half come in advanced stages. Early detection is important,” Dr. Paul added.
However, he said that awareness levels on breast cancer had improved. “It is important to come early. The most common symptom of breast cancer is a painless lump in the breast. Once a woman feels a lump, she must get it evaluated immediately. If there is delay in presentation, the cancer becomes more advanced,” he said.
There can also be blood discharge from the nipples, change in shape of breast and nipples. “If a person has a family history of breast cancer, she should get evaluated early,” he said.
Lifestyle also plays a vital role. Sedentary lifestyle and consuming too much of processed food can contribute to breast cancer, he said. The CMC Vellore Breast Group conducted the fourth Annual Patient Support Group meeting and a public breast cancer awareness camp.
A total of 45 patients, who had completed treatment, took part in the support group meeting. The interactive meeting was coordinated by staff of Endocrine Surgery, Radiotherapy and Medical Oncology.
At the camp, a patient information booklet on breast cancer in four languages was released and distributed to public. A counter for breast cancer risk calculation and advice on screening, genetic testing was available, a press release said.