The world’s focus in October 2019 was on Breast Cancer Awareness. As we move into November, Radio Active is hoping that that focus continues, what with November 7th being dedicated to Cancer Awareness in India, and the 3rd World Cancer Congress being scheduled for the end of the month in Mumbai.
In this special episode dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness, Dr. Chethana Thirthahalli, a Medical Officer at the Indian Cancer Society, Bangalore, speaks on the fundamental facts surrounding breast cancer detection and the myths that confuse and misguide people about this condition. The organisation works in creating awareness, provides services like screening, moral, and emotional support for families, and also financial support to persons who need it the most.
Cancer is categorised into two types – malignant and benign. Malignant cancers can spread into, or invade, the nearby tissues. Benign cancer strains do not spread; benign tumours can sometimes be quite large, however. When removed, they usually don’t grow back.
Breast cancer can reveal itself in various ways. The best way to detect any growth is to check the breasts for lumps. Other symptoms include the appearance of reddish colouring around the nipple(s), accompanied by itchiness; an inward collapse of the nipple(s); and the appearance of lumps in the underarms. The oozing of a watery liquid from a nipple is also a symptom that would need medical attention. Usually, the size of human breasts is rarely the same, but if one notices a great variation in size then one must check with a doctor.
Risk Factors: Cancer can be detected in anyone, but the risk factors rise among women who are above 40 years of age.
The most vulnerable categories include:
– Women whose periods started before the age of 12 and/or whose periods continued after the age of 55
– Women who had children after the age of 30
– Bodies that have received radiation for any reason
– Women living with obesity
– Women who have undergone many abortion procedures
– Women who have not fed breast milk to their children
– Women who consume too much alcohol and/or tobacco
– Bodies exposed to air pollution, including plastic pollution
– Bodies that have little to no exercise
Dr. Chethana mentions that men also are at risk of getting breast cancer, so self-checks are important. One should immediately, and without any hesitation, consult a doctor when one notices any lumps. Under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), BPL families can also access treatment for cancer.