Know more about Breast Cancer Awareness with DocsApp

Cancer is as old as civilization. Breast cancer, in particular, has been known to exist since the 1600s.

The disease used to be fatal with no cure & no reliable treatments at hand. Also, women often avoided being diagnosed due to the stigma associated with the disease.

Breast cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells, which results in the formation of lumps within the breast. It is treatable, however. if not detected early, it can also spread to other parts of the body and become a life-threatening disease.

Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer. It has now become a major health concern across the world including India, where it accounts for 25% to 31% of all cancers in women. Breast cancer can affect any woman & can occur at any age. However, it is commonly diagnosed in women above the age of 40 years. The average age of developing breast cancer has also undergone a significant shift from 50 - 70 years to 30 - 50 years. This shows that even younger women are at risk.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an annual campaign to increase awareness about breast cancer, its symptoms and treatments. The initiative also aims to reduce the stigma associated with the disease by educating the masses about early detection of breast cancer, which helps in achieving higher long-term survival rates. This is just one of the initiatives which have been taken to incite hope among women. Let’s look at some of the early ones below.

Early Efforts

  • One of the earliest campaigns to spread awareness included the "Women's Field Army", during the 1930s and 1940s. The initiative promoted early detection and timely medical intervention as the keys to the war on cancer.
  • In 1952, Reach to Recovery, was formed as the first peer-to-peer support group, for women. It also provided in-hospital visits from women who had survived breast cancer, to share their personal experience while battling breast cancer, give advice, and emotional support.
  • The Pink Ribbon - A Symbol of Hope

    The Pink Ribbon is a cultural symbol of breast cancer awareness. It is worn to honour those diagnosed with breast cancer. The pink ribbon is the most prominent symbol of breast cancer awareness, It is associated with individual compassion and faith in scientific progress.

Awareness Efforts in India

According to the Union Health Ministry, only 38% of women in India undergo a routine self-examination. Medical experts also report that 20% of breast cancers can be easily detected by physical examination alone.

Two of our most crucial weapons to battle Breast Cancer are:

  • Creating awareness among women
  • Self-examination for early detection
To address this, SBI Life launched a unique initiative called 'Thanks a Dot'.

The initiative aims to:

  • Educate women about breast cancer
  • Encourage women to carry out regular self-examination
  • Help them get an experience of what a lump really feels like

The easy to use tool is based on actual mammograms, to show women what real breast cancer lumps feel like. The shapes of the lumps are printed are on a card, which is inspired by the Braille system of touch reading & writing.

Such initiatives are incremental, in getting more and more women to be a part of the battle against breast cancer. However, the fight is not over yet, remember the fight begins with you. If you or anyone else you know shows symptoms then do not hesitate to reach out to a doctor immediately.