'Practice body awareness, check family history to detect breast cancer'

When should you start getting screened?Usually, screening starts after the age of 40, but if there is a family history of breast cancer, screening should start five years earlier, suggested Dr Amit Upadhyay, senior consultant, oncology and hemato-oncology, PSRI Hospital.
■ Biennial mammography screening is recommended for those aged 40–50 years and annual mammography screening thereafter for women at average risk.
■ Women at high risk may benefit from early screening
■ Consult a healthcare provider to determine an appropriate screening schedule based on individual risk factors and medical history
■ Early detection and individualised multidisciplinary management are crucial to effectively treat breast cancer—Dr Ramesh Sarin

Hina Khan recently revealed that she has stage 3 breast cancer

Early symptoms that should not be ignored■ Lump in the breast or armpit
■ Changes in breast shape and size
■ Nipple inversion has recently begun
■ Changes in the color or texture of the breast skin
■ A lump in the armpit
— Dr. Arun Kumar Goyal, Chairman & Head, Surgical Oncology, Andromeda Cancer Hospital

'Age is an important factor in the development of breast cancer'Dr Ramesh Sarin, Surgical Oncologist, Senior Consultant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, explains that the risk of breast cancer increases as women age, and most cases occur in women over the age of 55. “However, breast cancer in younger women is more aggressive and is diagnosed at advanced stages. Early detection and screening is important for young women at high risk, such as those with a family history or genetic predisposition,” he says.
Dr Divya Sehra, Consultant Gynaecological Oncology, Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, said the average age at diagnosis in India is 49 years, while in the West it is 62 years. “The incidence varies widely even within India, with metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai being higher, primarily due to reproductive factors (late marriage, delayed childbearing, low rates of breastfeeding) and lifestyle factors (sedentary life, red meat-based diet, tobacco and alcohol consumption),” she said.

'Indian women develop cancer 10 years earlier than women in the West'In 2023, a study by Apollo Hospitals based on data from 1.5 lakh screenings between 2018 and 2023 found that 25% of breast cancer cases in Indian women occurred at the age of 39 years or younger. The minimum age recorded at the time of diagnosis of breast cancer is 23 years.
Dr Ramesh Sarin explains, “Research by ICMR and Tata Memorial shows that in the last 10-15 years, cancer in women in India occurs ten years earlier than in Western countries. The incidence of cancer in women under the age of 40 is double that of Western countries. Various factors including genetics, family history and lifestyle choices are attributed to this trend.”

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