New Delhi: The month of October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In India, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers found among women.
According to a report by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research, out of the total number of cancer cases reported in 2020, breast cancer constitutes around 2 lakh cases or 14.8 percent of it. By 2025, the report states that this number is expected to rise to 2,38,908 cases.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US mentions that every year around 2.5 lakh women alone are diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 42,000 women succumb to the disease.
According to the CDC, here are some of the steps to lower the risk of breast cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
- Avoid alcohol consumption or try to limit the amount of alcohol you consume.
- If you are on any medication which involves birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, consult your doctor and know the risks.
- If possible, breastfeed your children.
The ongoing pandemic has just increased the risk for breast cancer patients. While visiting hospitals is a threat at this time, it is nevertheless important to seek treatment so that cancer does not spread.
For women who have breast cancer which has metastasised to the lungs, the risk is even greater if the coronavirus is contracted.
Dr Atul Batra, an associate professor at the Department of Medical Oncology at AIIMS, New Delhi suggests that patients with breast cancer should take extra precautions so that they do not contract the virus.
According to Dr Atul Batra, these are some of the precautions that need to be taken.
- Be extra vigilant about hand hygiene and not touching your face.
- Avoid close contact with family members and friends. Take precautions if you depend on them for your medical care.
- Ask your doctor how to monitor symptoms.
- Discuss strategy with your caregiver or those living with you in case you or they get sick.
- Consider working from home if you are not doing that already.
- Stock up on medicines.
- Ask someone you know to shop for groceries or pick up medicines and other essentials for you.
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