Breast Cancer Awareness is the Need of the Hour
Malaika U Shenai
22nd October 2020
In India, topics about female sanitary care and other associated issues are always discussed behind closed doors. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer found, with an estimated 1,62,468 new cases in 2018 alone, according to CYTECARE. Yet, our schools do not educate us about this harmful disease. Our families hush down conversations about such diseases until it is almost always too late. The urban parts of our country are still reasonably aware of breast cancer, however, people living in the rural parts of India do not have access to any kind of information or treatment even for this disease.
The Pink Ribbon (Source: Wellistic)
Several lives are ruined because of the lack of knowledge and awareness among people. This disease not only affects the person physically but also takes a significant toll on their mental health. ‘Cancer’ hugely affects their family dynamic as well, and they not only have a fear of losing their loved one who has cancer but also feels very helpless.
As a disease, cancer gets worse the later it is diagnosed, and this couldn’t be any truer with breast cancer. Early diagnosis can lead to a fast, healthy recovery and save lives. To understand how much people know about breast cancer, we conducted a small online survey. The participants were aged 18-55 and mostly belonged to urban, educated backgrounds. In our survey, we found out that 36.1 per cent of people did not know that men too are at risk of getting breast cancer, which is an alarming figure for an urban, educated, and generally socially aware audience. 55.6 per cent of people said that they did not know how breast cancer was caused. On the other hand, 54 per cent of participants got a question about what percentage of cancer genes can be inherited wrong. Although this survey was limited to a small section of our society, it paints a grim picture of how unaware and underprepared we are, a potential threat to our lives.
The WHO has declared the month of October as ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’. While several organizations take up awareness drives and check-up camps, what is important is that we educate ourselves and also the people around us about this disease. Conversations about such topics shouldn’t happen only in awareness drives, but also in our homes and places of work.
Edited by: Keyuri