The incidence of breast cancer among women in Bhopal has risen by almost 10 per cent in the past 20 years. But what is worse is the fact that 70 per cent cases of breast cancer are detected in the third or fourth stage of the disease, leaving very little scope for cure.
Dr Neelkamal Kapoor, in-charge of the Population-based Cancer Registry, Bhopal, said mortality rate from breast cancer was more in the city because of lack of awareness and a certain reluctance among women to consult doctors early enough. Dr TP Sahu, an oncologist, said there's a myth that if the lump in the breast was not painful, it was not cancer. As a result women do not visit doctors assuming that it can't be a serious illness. In the early stage of breast cancer, the lump
may not be painful, said Dr Sahu, adding that by the time it does turn painful, much damage has already been done.
Dr Kapoor said a patient often realises lump in the breast with the help of their hands only when it has acquired the size of 1.5 gm. "Earlier the affected breast used to be removed, but with new advanced techniques of treatment only the affected area of the breast is removed. But in cases where the entire breast had to be removed, a complete reconstruction can be done with the help of breast re-conceptive surgery," said Dr Kapoor.
Dr Sahu said regular mammography after the age of 40 was very important for all women. "Women go for regular mammography once or twice, but then stop thinking it to be just waste of money. But regular mammography helps a lot in early diagnosis and effective treatment of cancer," he added.
Lack of education and awareness among women regarding breast cancer is the major reason behind late detection of cancer. "Rarely programmes are conducted in Bhopal to spread awareness about breast cancer. There is no good government programme to spread correct information about breast cancer among women," said Dr Sahu.