Unhealthy lifestyles, late marriage, stress, and obesity are creating havoc in women’s lives and making them susceptible to many NCDs including cancer. Yes, you heard it right! The sudden transition to modern and urban lifestyle has become a major health concern in developing nations like India, where the mortality rates of cancer pertaining to breast, cervical, oral, colorectal and lungs are the highest. It has also been observed that female cancer cases constitute over 55% of the country’s total cancer cases.
The growing incidences of cancer in women can be avoided by sometimes following simple things like reapplying sunscreen to prevent skin cancer if you’ve been outside for a while. Since women are more prone to health check-ups owing to pregnancy or other gynecological issues, it’s always recommended to consult with your doctor about your risk factors based on your family history and lifestyle.
Sometimes, comprehensive knowledge about your body can help you devise a plan regarding what all medical tests or screenings you may need to undergo and what all dietary modifications could help you to strengthen your body’s immunity. However, one should consult an oncologist before making the plan because modifying one thing might be helpful for one person but not necessarily helpful for someone else as well.
In India, physiologically women’s body faces more exposure to hormones and hormonal fluctuations, thus leading to an increase in cell dysplasia or abnormality. Additionally, oppression of women and stigma associated with a disease like cancer also plays a vital role here, especially in rural areas. Due to this, most women start neglecting their well-being. Lack of hygiene has also led to an increase in cases of cancer.
Let’s learn the prevalence of the top-most women cancers in India and how can one decrease the risk of it:
Dr. Parveen Jain, Senior Consultant & Head of Department, Oncology, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka said "In India, one in every 28 women has the chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. It’s also because of the fact that the lack of robust awareness programs and social taboos are restricting women to come out and get themselves treated if they observe any abnormality in their breasts. This further leads to the diagnosis of the condition in the advanced stages, where chances of survival are minuscule. Various reports have suggested that in India, one woman gets diagnosed with breast cancer every 4 minutes and one woman dies of breast cancer every 13 minutes. It is the most prevalent cancer among Indian women.
Prevention: Early detection is the only way to survive breast cancer. Women should perform a self-breast examination once every month. Annual Mammography above the age of 40 is another effective and proven way to detect breast cancer at an early stage."
Dr. Gauri Agarwal, Fertility Specialist, Founder & Director, Seeds of Innocence and Genestrings Diagnostic said "With cervical cancer being the second most common type of cancer in India, the disease is often neglected and stigmatized in rural parts of the country. Women in India are often diagnosed too late with the disease due to a lack of awareness and stigma attached to it. According to a report, India has the highest incidence 1 rate at 22 (per 100,000 women per year) of cervical cancer in South Asia. Cancer occurs in the cells of the cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
Prevention: Screening tests include pap tests and HPV DNA tests that can help in diagnosing the disease. If cervical cancer is suspected, your doctor is likely to start with a thorough examination of your cervix. Cervical cancer can also be diagnosed early with the help of regular screenings."
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