Bengaluru, India, 17 October 2023 – Breast Cancer (BC) is a serious illness that occurs globally, resulting in over 685,000 deaths annually. A study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) indicates that one in every nine Indians is likely to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, with one in 29 women at risk of breast cancer. It’s projected that by 2025, the number of cancer cases will surge to 15.7 lakh.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a reminder to all of us that screening allows women – and men – to cure tumors at a precancerous stage with minor intervention. Hence, why the availability of screening options for patients is of utmost importance. An alum of St. George’s University, School of Medicine, and School of Graduate Studies – Patrick Dineen, MD, MBA – is dedicated to making screening for breast cancer more accessible for women.
As an expert in his field and a strong proponent of spreading awareness around cancer prevention and detection, Dr. Dineen has three tips that he hopes all current and future doctors will share with their loved ones and patients.
Know your body the best – If there are any changes going on with your body, bring it to the attention of your healthcare provider. This includes regularly conducting self-examinations to identify any unusual variations in size, shape, and texture of the breast area. You are the best person to notice changes in your own body. If you notice any changes, such as lumps, skin dimpling, nipple discharge, or pain, don’t ignore them. These could be potential signs of breast cancer.
Get screened and document your findings – No excuses. Breast cancer is a screenable cancer that is detectable early on, and that’s a benefit for everyone. Keep a record of your breast self-exams, noting any changes or concerns, and discuss them with your healthcare provider during regular check-ups.
Encourage your friends and family to be proactive about their breast health – Make sure your loved ones are aware of the importance of breast cancer screening and know when they should start getting regular mammograms. Accompany family members or friends to their mammogram appointments, especially if they are anxious or unsure about the process.
Offering an expert perspective, Dr. Dineen summarized his experience screening patients, saying: “Although it’s a bittersweet moment when our screening finds someone’s cancer, we also know that if we didn’t find it, the chances are that the patient may never have gotten screened for various reasons. Screenings allow us to find cancer before there is a physical manifestation. I can’t imagine a better day than hearing stories about the lives we’ve saved.”