International conference on breast cancer stresses early diagnosis, awareness

ANI | Updated: Oct 07, 2017 17:58 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct.7 (ANI): To promote awareness about what has become the commonest cancer among women in the country, a three-day international on breast cancer was inaugurated today which underscored the need for early diagnosis for effective treatment.

The event was organized by Department of Surgical Disciplines, AIIMS, National Cancer Institute-India and Safdurjung Hospital under the auspices of ASOMA (Asian Society of Mastology).

ASOMA standscommitted for the teeming millions in Asia that have been deprived of an optimum management for this disease that has become the most common cancer of mankind and we are all flag bearers in this mission along with all those whose heart beats for breast cancer, remarked the Founder President of ASOMA , Prof Chintamani.

The society includes all specialists ,nurses and associated and dedicated breast care givers in Asia and has membership extending to all Asian countries and also other countries of the world.

The conference also focused on workshops caregivers like nurses to develop to a skilled group of ancillary staff to make the journey easier for the patients.About 1.5 lakh fresh cases of breast cancer are being reported ever year in India. The number has trebled in the last 10-15 years.

About 350 delegates comprising of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and cancer survivors from India and other countries in Asia and other continents are participating in the event.

While speaking as the Chief Guest, Mrs Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women &Child Development, said ""Breast cancer is a rising epidemic in India. One in every eight women develops breast cancer at some point in their lives. There is no education rendered on the matter of diet and exercise. I urge the medical society to formulate awareness campaign regarding diet and I will be happy to provide my utmost support," She also shared the mental trauma that her family underwent when her mother suffered from breast cancer.

The cancer survivors and their relatives shared their experience and exhorted new patients to undergo and continue treatment in the early stages of cancer.

The stigma associated with it often delays diagnosis and treatment thereby, jeopardizing survival chances of those patients. The patients who end up with mastectomies have their lives shattered. This can also be avoided if treatment is started in early stages when 'Breast Conservation' is offered as the mainstay of treatment these days.

"There are caregivers like nurses and physiotherapists who are involved in the entire process of treatment for a breast cancer patient. It is important to create a good pool of caregivers who can take care of patients effectively," said Prof RandeepGuleria, Director, AIIMS.

Western studies reveal that at least 89 out 100 breast carcinoma patients survive till five years but the picture is gloomier in India. The reason behind this is gross lack of awareness among women and the cultural and societal practices where women do not communicate freely with their family members about such problems.

"These days there are lot of options available for breast cancer treatment. The main advantage of breast-conserving surgery, also known as lumpectomy, is that it can preserve the appearance and sensation of the breast. It is a less invasive surgery, making the recovery time shorter and easier than mastectomy" said Prof Chintamani, Founder President, ASOMA.

"Women can screen themselves at home for early signs of breast cancer. Mostly the early symptoms of breast cancer are lumps in the breast, changes in the shape and skin texture of the breast, inflammation or rashes over the breast or unusual discharge from the nipples"said Prof Anurag Srivastava, Head of Department of Surgery, AIIMS &Organising Chairman, ASOMA Con.

A sharp pain in the breast can also sometimes indicate to a serious problem. Later signs of breast cancer may involve retraction, inward turning of the nipple, enlargement of one breast, dimpling of the breast surface, an existing lump that gets bigger, "orange peel" texture to the skin, vaginal pain, unintentional weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit and visible veins on the breast.

"It is important to note that it is not easy to find out if a lump is cancerous or not at first. Most breast lumps are not cancer. About 80 percent of them end up being benign" said Prof V. Seenu, Department of Surgery, AIIMS &Organising Secretary, ASOMA Con. (ANI)