In India, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in Indian Women. This type of cancer accounts for 14% of all cancers in women. In terms of mortality, it has recently overtaken cervical cancer also. As per government statistics, for every 2 newly diagnosed women, one dies of it in India. Unfortunately, social taboo and lack of awareness are the major factors behind this. These issues drive late detection which contributes to the high mortality rates. On the other hand, poor breast cancer screening practices complicate the situation even further. Experts say that when breast cancer is diagnosed at a later stage, the survival rate decreases considerably. Also, the treatment cost is higher when cancer is diagnosed at a later stage. Late-stage diagnosis of breast cancer is precipitated by three major factors: the social taboo, lack of cancer awareness and absence of a proper cancer screening test. Even for a screening program to become successful, we need social awareness and a higher rate of participation. Also, the diagnosis process and treatment need to be effective to convince more people.
Another important reason for the delayed screening is the asymptomatic nature of cancer in the early stages. And if symptomatic, breast cancer usually starts with a painless lump which many women do not notice or ignore. Women are either unaware or fear that they will get rejected by their partners and hence choose to ignore the symptoms until the condition reaches its last stage. This is a big social taboo which stops women from discussing breast cancer openly. Also, many women believe in the myth that there is no effective treatment that exists for the disease and taking medical care will result in losing the breast. As a result, many women in India lead a life with the largest number of health-related issues. Moreover, the paradoxical attitude and lack of systemic approaches towards disease handling worsen the situation even more.
It is known that only 30% of the total cases are diagnosed in its early stage while the rest 70% of patients are diagnosed with breast cancer at an advanced stage. This, in turn, has led to a higher mortality rate (due to breast cancer) in India as compared to many other developed countries. Thus, it has become very important to raise awareness among common people or communities and promote preventive activity. People need to understand the importance of early diagnosis for this disease and must go for screening if they are susceptible to this disease. Early diagnosis can help to reduce the mortality rate by downstaging the disease in women. Even, self-exam is also a feasible and reasonable approach towards staying alert and preventing the late-stage consequences. Anyone can get guidance from trained health workers about how to carry out a self-exam. Successful mobilisation of awareness towards early screening can help us to control this disease. Although the disease cannot be eliminated, awareness will reduce the burden and eradicate the stigma to a large extent.
HMZ Laboratories (a unique alliance between Hero Cycles, Millennium cancer centre & Zyagnum AG) has been making efforts in this direction. One such recent advancement made by them is an innovative cancer diagnosis method which detects solid tumours using a ‘simple blood test’. The cancer screening test makes use of a unique EDIM technology for accurate detection or diagnosis.
The EDIM technology is regarded as a ‘Biological Biopsy’ as it helps to examine the macrophages in the bloodstream itself. What makes the technique revolutionary is the quick & effective detection of solid tumours, even at stage 0. Connect with us to know more about this new cancer screening method that may help us to see the disease in a different light!