Breast Cancer Awareness: How The Right Information saves lives

The month of October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month worldwide. The objective is to garner attention and support for improving awareness, early detection and treatment of breast cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in women, globally and that’s why all women should buy a cancer insurance policy. We’ll get to that later though.

Among 9.6 million cancer deaths reported worldwide in 2018, 2.09 million deaths were caused by breast cancer. In India as well, breast cancer was responsible for 21.5% of cancer deaths in 2014 and there were 1,44,937 incidences of breast cancer reported in the same year as per WHO data.

Education and awareness about detection and management can be a great tool to ensure timely breast cancer treatment and increase survival rate in breast cancer patients. Therefore, it’s important to learn about this disease and understand the signs and symptoms, as well as get rid of myths associated with this disease.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a disease where cancerous cells (malignant cells) form in the tissues of the breast. Medical science is yet to find the exact cause of breast cancer. All that we know is that cancer damages the DNA of a healthy cell and forces it to become cancerous and spread into other tissues. However, we know a lot about breast cancer symptoms and signs that help us seek medical help early. We also know about the risk factors and how avoiding them can reduce risks.

Breast cancer symptoms and signs

If you, your spouse or any other family member displays the following signs and symptoms, it is important that you go for a medical check-up.

  • ● Any unexplained change in the shape and size of the breast

  • ● Nipple discharge that is milky, clear or bloody in non-breastfeeding women

  • ● A change in skin texture of the breast

  • ● A lump in the breast or underarms

  • ● Nipple tenderness

Awareness, education and information can save lives

Though breast cancer is the most common disease among Indian women, very few Indian women know much about breast cancer. Even women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer have little information about their medical condition. Due to lack of awareness and information, they don’t seek immediate medical attention, thus greatly bringing down their chances of survival. A report by WHO shows an alarming trend in Indian women: More than 60% of breast cancer is detected when it reaches stage III or IV. [3]

Breast cancer risk factors

Though there are no known specific causes of cancer, a few of the following factors may increase your chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer: [3]

  • ● Unhealthy lifestyle, excess alcohol, drugs and smoking can greatly increase breast cancer risks

  • ● Sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity

  • ● Artificial hormone therapies

  • ● Disrupted or irregular sleep cycles due to rotational shift jobs

  • ● Breast implants

  • ● Excess consumption of canned food and drinks

  • ● Delaying pregnancy

How to reduce risks of breast cancer

You can reduce the risks of breast cancer and increase your survival rate by avoiding the above risk factors and following a few simple and practical things in your life such as:

  • ● Regular self-examination of your breasts to detect signs and symptoms

  • ● Avoiding delay in seeking breast cancer treatment

  • ● Consulting a doctor immediately when any abnormality is seen

  • ● Getting a mammography done if you are above 40 years of age

  • ● Avoiding junk food and including more vegetables and fresh fruits in your diet

  • ● Maintaining a healthy body weight

  • ● Breastfeeding your child for at least a year (for new mothers)

Avoiding myths associated with breast cancer

There are several myths associated with breast cancer that plague women and cause them to worry too much or avoid treatment altogether. For instance, some women worry that having a family history of breast cancer is a sure sign that they will also suffer from the disease. The fact is, only 10% of women with this cancer have a family history of this disease. [3]

Another myth is that breast cancer can spread by touch, which is more like a superstition than a myth in India. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Breast cancer is a non-communicable disease and it cannot transfer to someone physically.

Myths such as these and lack of correct information has cost many lives in the past. It’s important that Indian women educate themselves more on this disease and encourage others to do the same. Indian women have an important role to play in the nation’s progress and we cannot afford to lose them to diseases such as breast cancer, which can be easily detected and treated.

Buying a cancer insurance policy is very important these days and applying for Future Generali Cancer Protect Plan is extremely easy. Simply go online and get yourself a Cancer insurance plan cover just with the help of few simple steps. The process is extremely hassle-free and quick.