Breast cancer accounts for about 50% of the related deaths in India
Stage Zero Breast Cancer cannot be detected easily and can spread to surrounding tissues
Stage Zero Breast Cancer is not dangerous but has the potential to spread to the surrounding tissues if left untreated. DCIS is difficult to detect as it does not have any symptoms. It is important to watch out for a change in size, rash on or around the nipple, a painless lump, blood-stained discharge from the nipple, swelling under the armpit or a retraction of the nipple.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, "Breast cancer can occur in women who have no identifiable risk factors. An average woman has 10% to 15% chances of developing this condition if she lives into her 90s. The risk in a woman with a strong family history who has inherited one of the genes (BRCA1 and BRCA20) that predispose her to breast cancer is over 50%. Estrogen stimulates cells of the breast's glandular tissue to divide. The longer a woman is exposed to estrogen, the greater her risk for breast cancer. Estrogen exposure is more if a woman began menstruating at or before 11 years of age, or if she experiences menopause at age 55 years or later."
Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases that are caused when a group of abnormal cells begins to grow uncontrollably, often forming a tumor. Tumors can either be benign or malignant.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, "Periodic health check-ups can help detect cancer at an early stage. CancerSEEK is a blood test that can detect the presence of eight common cancers by analysing traces of DNA and proteins released into the blood stream by the cancer cells. Apart from this, X-Rays, MRI scan, colonoscopy, mammography, Pap smear, biopsy, and cytology are some of the other tests done to detect cancer."
Some tips from HCFI
· Pay attention to symptoms and get yourself checked regularly.
· Using any type of tobacco puts a person at an increased risk of cancer. Avoiding or stopping the consumption of tobacco is one of the foremost steps in cancer prevention.
· Filter tap water properly as this can reduce your exposure to possible carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals.
· Get vaccinated on time and as per schedule. For example, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and several other kinds of cancer.
· Drinking plenty of water and other liquids can help in reducing the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine and helping to flush them through the bladder faster.
· Most importantly, make lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants which can help ward off diseases.
Dr K K Aggarwal