Panel discussion on breast cancer

Chennai: Breast Cancer is the leading cancer amongst women in the country surpassing cervical cancer as the primary cancer in women.According to government data, the estimated number of breast cancer cases in Tamil Nadu has been steadily increasing by 4% every year and the state has the fifth largest number of cancer cases in the country.To create awareness on the issue the think tank IHW Council organised a state panel discussion in collaboration with RAPID: Global Cancer Alliance and Novartis, bringing together government representatives as well medical professionals for a dialogue onincreasing screening practices in rural areas to address the growing burden of breast cancer with focus on Tamil Nadu.

While discussing about the barriers faced in early detection of the disease and screenings Dr. K Krishnaraj, Joint Director, NCD (VBDC), Directorate of Public Health & PreventiveMedicine, Govt of Tamil Nadu laid emphasis on common training modules on breast awareness for girls in school and mapping of breast cancer cases in the state for better data and research.The experts also emphasised on the need to forge public- private partnerships in a cohesive manner for better results and also called for uniform diagnosis and screening protocols of breast cancer in Tamil Nadu.Dr. Selvi Radhakrishna, Breast Surgeon and Director, Chennai Breast Centre, “delay in diagnosis negatively impacts the treatment outcome and hence capacity building of medical practitioners to ensure early diagnosis is a must.”The experts also noted that it is imperative that women continue the treatment cycle once they are diagnosed with breast cancer after seeking medical intervention as early as possible. Dr. Arvind Krishnamurthy, Professor and Head, Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Adyar Chennai highlighted that there is a clear urban rural divide as urban women are more prone to breast cancer due to lifestyle changes and hence awareness should also focus on preventive lifestyle and risk factors involved.