The Breast Cancer Awareness Month is marked in countries across the world every October. This helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease. Cancer of the breast has become the most frequent cancer site among the urban women in India and the number is increasing annually, both due to the aging of the population and an increase in age-specific incidence.
Hereditary factor plays an important role in the causation of breast cancer. Other than this, nulliparity, early age at menarche, late age at first pregnancy, obesity, cigarette smoking and alcohol are other known causative factors for this disease. The incidence of breast cancer is much higher in urban than in rural women. This urban / rural difference is mainly due to the difference in lifestyle factors. Western dietary influences and the changed lifestyles of urban women are the major cause of rising incidence of breast cancer in our state.
Pain is generally not a common presentation of breast cancer. Lumps are common; either in the breast or in the axilla; which may not be seen but can be felt. Breast cancer may occur without the presence of lumps. As with any other cancer, the results of treatment are substantially good, if breast cancer is detected at an early stage. Self breast examination is one of the most effective tools in early detection of breast cancer.
Since, awareness is the best tool to fight this disease, Ruby Cancer Centre, a unit of Ruby General Hospital, has been organizing a picturesque awareness rally since 2015 to generate awareness among the common people of Kolkata, West Bengal, about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. But, due to the pandemic scenario, a virtual programme had been organized from 11 am to 6 pm. The programme was inaugurated by Dr. D. P. Samaddar (Director Medical Affairs) followed by live sessions on ‘How yoga makes life better for Breast Cancer Patients’ by Mr. Pradip Sholanki (Yoga Specialist), ‘Food and Lifestyle Modification’ by Ms. Swagata Mukherjee (Sr. Dietician). There was a live chat session on Breast Cancer Awareness by Dr. Sandip Sarkar (Consultant Oncologist) and Dr. Sudipta Bandyopadhyay (Consultant Oncologist), followed by a motivational session on ‘What Cancer Cannot Do’ by Ms. Shristi Saha (Psychotherapist) and Ms. Gitika Chatterjee (Sr. Psychological Counsellor). Many well known personalities like Mr. Prosenjit Chatterjee, Chaiti Ghosal, Chumki Chowdhury, Chandan Sen, Sayani Ghosh, Saikat Mitra, Arijit Dutta, Vicky Nandy, Tanusree Chakraborty, Sajal Bhattacharjee and many others who have been a part of this event throughout have participated virtually this year. Breast cancer survivors are the real celebrities and ambassadors for spreading the awareness about early detection and treatment of the disease. A few breast cancer survivors had also participated along with eminent Oncologists like Dr. Gautam Mukhopadhyay, Dr. Somnath Sorcer, Dr. Amitabh Ray, Dr. Sudipta Bandyopadhyay, Dr. Dipanjan Majumdar, Dr. Kanishka Sarkar Dr. Syed Hassanujjaman, Dr. Abhishek Guhathakurta, Dr. Soumya Mukherjee. During the virtual programme we also had around 4000 live viewers.