Awareness is the key to beat breast cancer: RGCIRC Experts

The Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre (RGCIRC) is running a campaign 'Big or Small - Save Them All', through an appeal to the women that breast cancer is curable if detected early

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New Delhi: Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide. A panel of top-notch oncologists from different specialties at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre (RGCIRC) including Dr. D C Doval, Dr. Rajeev Kumar and Dr. Kundan Singh Chufal shared insights on advancements in the treatment of breast cancer and the need to create awareness.
“There is an urgent need to make people aware of the early detection and treatment of breast cancer as well as to conserve the breasts with new technologies. People tend to follow the history of others, especially within family or relatives! But every breast cancer is different, hence the treatment and outcomes would be different”, said Dr D C Doval, Chair Medical Oncology & Chief of Breast & Sarcoma Services, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre (RGCIRC) Rohini, Delhi.
In recent years, lots of advances have taken place. Traditional chemotherapy is being supplemented with other therapies such as endocrine therapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy. The management of breast cancer is a perfect example of multi-model treatment and each case of breast cancer requires individualized and specialized care, said Dr Doval.
With the help of new techniques such as IMRT, IGRT and APBI we can hit the target (tumor) precisely and at the same time save the normal surrounding tissues so that there is minimum morbidity and maximum effect, said Dr. Rajeev Kumar (Sr. Consultant & Chief of Breast Services), RGCIRC.
Dr. Kundan Singh Chufal, Sr. Consultant & Unit Head, Radiation Oncology RGCIRC, informs that techniques such as Hypofractionated radiotherapy have helped reduce the course of treatment in case of breast cancer patients from 6-8 weeks to 3-4 weeks and to even 1 week in certain patients. This results in better treatment compliance.
Dr. Rajeev Kumar said that in view of the Covid outbreak the cancer treatment has taken a hit and it has increased the risk of cancer having spread to advanced stages. If there’s any sort of abnormality in their breasts through self-breast examination, women need to visit a qualified professional or a well-equipped hospital at the earliest. He further added that in Pre-Covid times we used to cater to 70% of patients in the early stages of breast cancer, but with lockdown, the patients held themselves back, and now almost 50% of cases are reaching in advance stages. There is a need to take all precautions against Covid, but one should not delay the treatment of Cancer as that can be hazardous, said Dr. Rajeev.
About the conservation of Breast after the treatment, Dr. Chufal said, till 10 years ago only 5-10% of the breasts could be conserved leading to a body blow to the morale of the women whose breast had to be removed.  Currently, 40-50% of the breasts are being conserved. If detected early, almost all the breasts can be conserved. Therefore there is a need to create awareness about breast cancer screening.
With new technologies and advancements, breasts can be preserved, conserved, and reconstructed to look natural. At RGCIRC we are running a campaign Big or Small – Save Them All, through an appeal to the women that breast cancer is curable if detected early, Dr. Rajeev Kumar concluded.