(CTN News) – Over 60 percent of breast cancer patients present in advanced stages, and most die within a year of being diagnosed, according to eminent breast surgeon Dr. P. Raghu Ram.
The most common cancer affecting women in India, breast cancer is diagnosed in 200, 000 new cases each year.
In the 66th annual conference of the All India Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AICOG 2024), Dr. Raghu Ram, founder, director and CEO of Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation, spoke at a public awareness panel discussion on “Breast Cancer Advocacy & Screening”. From January 6-10, approximately 10,000 delegates will attend this Congress.
Having served as the President of FOGSI and Chairperson of AICOG 2024, Dr Shantha Kumari said that gynecologists must be empowered in order to make women ‘breast aware’ and to refer patients in time to specialists who can ensure those with breast cancer receive the most benefits possible through early detection.
The President of the International Federation of Obstetrics & Gynecology (FIGO), Professor Anne-Beatrice Kihara, spoke about the vital role gynecologists play in ensuring early diagnosis of breast cancer.
When women present for various gynecological issues, gynecologists must routinely examine their breasts, even if they have no complaints in the breast, as this method could help detect cancerous lesions.
In most cases, gynecologists are the first to be consulted by women with breast diseases, noted Dr Raghu Ram. To confirm or exclude breast cancer, gynecologists must ensure that all women presenting with a breast lump undergo a triple assessment, including a clinical examination, mammography and ultrasound guided core needle biopsy.
FNAC (Fine needle aspiration cytology) is being referred to a lot of patients, even though it’s ineffective, inaccurate, and may lead to false positive diagnoses, resulting in wrong diagnoses and wrong treatments.
Gynecologists should actively encourage women 40 years and older to have an annual screening mammogram, the surgeon said.
Furthermore, he recommended mammograms for women with breast lumps as the gold standard investigation, and cautioned gynecologists about referring patients for Thermography, which hasn’t been proven to be a great way to evaluate breast lumps.
Mala Akkineni, patron of Ushalakshmi Cancer Foundation, paid tribute to Dr Raghu Ram and Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation for raising awareness about breast cancer early through a number of innovative and unique initiatives over the past 17 years.
Dr Raghu Ram brought awareness to the city and to all of India that women over 40 need mammograms despite being educated,” she said.
Damayanthi, a retired IAS officer and cancer survivor, said her diagnosis was delayed because her gynecologist didn’t order a core needle biopsy. It’s important to have a core needle biopsy to check for breast cancer or rule it out.