Breast cancer has become the scourge of modern times in the country. Why is it that breast cancer incidence is on the rise in India while in Europe, it has almost stabilised?

Umberto Veronesi, the octogenarian doctor-researcher from Italy and the founding father of breast cancer surgery in the world, thinks that it is because of the reversal of traditions here.

"Indian diet has always been pure vegetarian, which has changed in recent times. Also families here had the tradition of marrying off girls early, so that their first offspring was produced when the girls were very young.

But today, girls marry late and often postpone their first pregnancy till they are well into their 30s," Dr. Veronesi says.

These two key changes in the diet and fertility pattern in India over the years has close links to the rising incidence of breast cancer, he feels.