Incidence of breast cancer in Chennai
The adjoining graph sourced from PBCR 2012 - 2014 shows the incidence of breast cancer in Chennai presently.
Common age groups for breast cancer in Chennai
A few decades back:
However, presently, breast cancer is more common in the younger age group and 49% of all women suffering from breast cancer in Chennai are below 50 years of age. A significant number of patients are below 30 years. The reason is NOT that few decades back, it was not detected earlier and now it is being detected earlier. The reason IS that there has been a very genuine rise in the incidence of breast cancer in younger women. Please understand that breast cancer is increasing even in the older population; it is just that the increase in younger population is more than that in the older population; maybe because of the predominant young population in India. All this is evident in the official HBCR chart shown below, which shows the age distribution of breast cancer in various cities.
What changes do we see over last few decades?
As is evident from the graph below, there has been a significant rise in the number of breast cancer cases as compared to earlier.
In 1982 - 83, breast cancer accounted for about 20% of all cancers in women in Chennai
Presently, breast cancer accounts for 27% of all cancers in women in Chennai.
What do I learn from these statistics?
The answer is very evident.
We are witnessing breast cancer in much younger ages than earlier
The numbers of breast cancer cases in all age groups is rising rapidly
More than half the patients still present to doctors in advanced stages
Breast cancers in the young tend to be more aggressive than cancers in the older population, and survival in younger patients, especially in advanced stages, is lesser.
So the NEED OF THE HOUR is breast awareness, begining from 20 years of age, and regular screening from a qualified doctor, so that we can detect the cancer early and treat it in earlier stages thereby giving a chance of longer life for the patient as also decreasing the chance of a recurrence.