Currently, breast cancer ranks first in the list of most common cancers in India, it affects women’s health globally. Men too can suffer from breast cancer, which is quite rare. Hence, cancer awareness towards lowering the risk while encouraging early diagnosis and spreading the availability of various treatment modalities is a must.
Current statistics also reveal stage 1 patients have a survival rate of 95%, stage II patients have 92%, stage III patients have 70% and stage IV patients have just 21%. Sadly, the survival rate of advance breast cancer patients is dismal due to late detection followed by delay or breaks in treatment as against early detection and swift treatment.
Dr. Garvit Chitkara noted breast cancer surgeon and specialist in Mumbai and a senior consultant in Breast surgical oncology and oncoplasty at Nanavati Max Institute of Cancer Care, Mumbai states, ‘Advanced breast cancer treatments have raised hopes and survival rates for patients while minimizing their trauma as much as possible., As a breast cancer surgeon, I would encourage regular screening to stay safe and healthy.’
These days, cancer is being diagnosed across all age groups. At a personal level, doing a monthly self-breast examination (SBE) is advisable. Clinical breast examination means examination by a doctor or a health care worker. It is advisable to get a clinical breast examination atleast once every year. A screening Mammogram is generally advisable after the age of 45 years of age.
He proceeds with explaining that a mammogram is an x-ray of the breast and helps in the early detection of breast cancer. The mammogram will help in the early detection of breast cancer and begin its treatment as early as possible. Also, Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is only recommended to screen patients who are at higher risk of getting breast cancer due to their family histories or who have dense breasts.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a painless lump in the breast or axilla however any lump in the breast needs to be checked by a doctor. Other less common symptoms are nipple discharge, scabbing of nipple, dimpling of skin, thickening of skin, changes in the shape and size of the breast, retraction of the nipple. Pain and swelling in the breast are generally seen in advanced stages of breast cancer and should not be ignored.
Dr. Garvit Chitkara says that breast cancer can be seen in any part of the breast but the most common site is the upper outer quadrant. Breast cancer is not one disease and cannot be treated as one, it has various molecular subtypes. With the help of pathology, the breast cancer can be classified into its subtype and then personalized treatment is offered to the patient. The most common problem that leads to poor survival in patient is delayed presentation. And delayed presentation occurs because of poor awareness and ignorance. So the best way to catch cancer early is to do a monthly self-breast examination, an annual clinical breast examination and after 45 years of age one screening mammogram in two years is enough catch cancer early
Although raising awareness is an ongoing process throughout the year, October is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness Month all over the world.
Dr, Garvit Chitkara has spoken at various events organized by different bodies in observation of the breast cancer awareness month.
During this month, noted breast cancer surgeon Dr Garvit Chitkara participated in various initiatives focused on educating people about the risk factors of breast cancer, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and encouraging people to go ahead with a mammogram.
On 16th October 2022, under the aegis of the Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, Dr Garvit Chitkara and the entire oncology team participated in a Cyclothon to raise awareness about the early detection of breast cancer with star celebrity Kartik Aaryan gracing the occasion and encouraging the participants.
He was also invited to speak to the teachers and parents of Dayanand High School, Malad about the methods of prevention and importance of early diagnosis in successful treatment of breast cancer.
In yet another initiative, Dr Garvit was invited at the Open House of the Podar Jumbo Kids School at Santacruz – East to speak and interact with the parents about breast cancer awareness
We must utilize this opportunity to increase the awareness for breast cancer. As awareness will lead to early diagnosis and early diagnosis to better survival. We must remember ‘awareness saves lives’.