Breast cancer is also a cause for growing concern among men with doctors claiming that men are also falling prey to the disease.
Doctors and medical experts at some of the country's premier health institutes claim the number of male breast cancer cases has been on the rise in recent years and attribute rapid lifestyle changes as one of the predominant causes.
"The present percentage of breast cancer cases among males have risen above 2 per cent of all breast cancers," says Dr Sameer Kaul, Senior Consultant (Surgical Oncology), Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
Typically the presence of excessive estrogen hormones increases the risk of breast cancer in males.
"The presence of extra X sex chromosomes in males is known as a medical condition called Klinefelter syndrome. This may at times become the main culprit for causing cancer of breast in males. But, the occurrence of this disease in males can also be attributed to genetic disorders," explains Dr P K Jhulka, Head, Radiation Department, IRCH-AIIMS.
Male breast cancer cases contributed to 2.77 per cent of all breast cancer cases in the country according to the 'Consolidated Report of Population Based Cancer Registeries' by Indian Council of Medical Research for years 1990-96, the latest the organisation has tabulated.
This percentage had dragged down to just 1.75 per cent of all breast cancer cases in India in the year 2001-2003, as stated in another such consolidated report by the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.
"ICMR data is collected for cities altogether and not restricted to specific hospitals," points out Dr Kishore Chaudhary, Deputy Director General, Social and Preventive Medicine, ICMR.
"If a neurologist treats cases of heart-attack throughout the day, he can believe that heart is the largest neurotic problem. But, that must not necessarily be correct," he says adding that current data for years from 1996 has yet to be tabulated to reveal current statistics about breast cancer among males.
Though the symptoms and the treatment pattern for breast cancer is the same for both men and women, the growth pattern of cancer causing genes varies.