Incidence of breast cancer in Bengaluru is the third highest in the country after Hyderabad and Chennai. From 15 per lakh (age-adjusted rate) cases in 1980, the incidence of breast cancer has increased to 41 per lakh currently in the State capital.
Doctors said breast cancer is the first and most common cancer in women in India and accounts for 25% to 32% of all cancers in women in Indian cities (as per Urban Population-based cancer registries) and second most common cancer in rural areas.
At the State-run Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology nearly 1,000 new cases of breast cancer are seen every year.
“Over the years it has been observed that more young women are reporting breast cancer. The average age of patients with breast cancer has shifted from 40-70 years to 30-50 years. Over the last few years we are also seeing incidence among women in 20-30 years and this cancer in the young age is more aggressive,” C. Ramachandra, Kidwai Director, told The Hindu on Wednesday. October is observed as breast cancer awareness month.
According to ‘The Clinicopathological Profile of Cancers in India: A Report of the Hospital Based Cancer Registries, 2021’ prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR), Bengaluru, breast cancer contributed 27.9% of the total cancer burden in females in 2020, the highest among all cancers in Karnataka.
Dr. Ramachandra said although the exact risk factors for breast cancer are still not known, sedentary lifestyles, excessive consumption of fast food, aerated drinks and increase in smoking and alcohol consumption among women, menstrual factors (early age at menarche and late age at menopause) are responsible.
Besides, obesity, weight gain during adulthood, lack of physical exercise and reproductive factors (nulliparity, late child bearing), exogenous hormone factors are also the common risk factors, he said. Women should not ignore any lump or pain in the breast, thickening or swelling of a part of the breast, irritation or dimpling of breast skin, redness and discharge, the doctor added.