New Delhi: To promote awareness about what has become the commonest form of cancer among women in the country, a three-day international conference on breast cancer underscored the need for early diagnosis for effective treatment.
The event is being organised by the department of surgical disciplines at AIIMS, National Cancer Institute-India, and Safdarjung Hospital under the auspices of ASOMA (Asian Society of Mastology).
The conference on Saturday also focused on workshops for caregivers like nurses to develop into a skilled group of ancillary staff to make the journey easier for patients. About 1.5 lakh fresh cases of breast cancer are being reported every year in India. The number has tripled in the last 10-15 years.
While speaking as the chief guest, Maneka Gandhi, who is the minister for women and child development, said: “Breast cancer is a rising epidemic in India. One in every eight woman develops breast cancer at some point in their lives. There is no education rendered to them on the matter of diet and exercise. I urge the medical society to formulate awareness campaign regarding diet and I will be happy to provide my utmost support.” She also shared the mental trauma that her family underwent when her mother suffered from breast cancer.
About 350 delegates comprising of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and cancer survivors from India and other countries in Asia and other continents are participating in the event. Western studies reveal that at least 89 out of 100 breast cancer patients survive for five years, but the picture is gloomier in India.
The reason behind this is gross lack of awareness among women and the cultural and societal practices where women do not communicate freely with their family members about such problems. “It is important to create a good pool of caregivers who can take care of patients effectively,” said Prof. Randeep Guleria, director of All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.