The second most common type of cancer among women, Breast cancer is affecting Indian rural women the most because they wait long before treatment and examination, says a report conducted by Umea University. It says that the lack of self-examination has led to this situation where rural women have waited longer than they should before realizing that they have breast cancer.
“Early detection may be crucial for successful breast cancer treatment. Therefore, it’s important to influence women’s awareness of the symptoms and their attitudes towards treatment. Illiteracy, ignorance, poverty and superstition regretfully lead to many women delaying their contact with the health care system too long,” said researcher Nitin Gangwane.
“It’s urgent to have a national breast cancer program in India, while at the local level, we need to raise awareness among women about breast cancer,” – Nitin Gangwane
Gangwane studied the women of the rural-dominated district of Wardha in Maharashtra. He conducted two studies to come to the conclusion.
In his first study, Gangwane surveyed a sample of 1,000 women about socioeconomic factors, knowledge of breast cancer and attitudes to breast self-examination. Then he carried out another research in the same district with 212 breast cancers patients. Both his research combined, Gangwane found that there was hardly any woman who had breast cancer who had examined her own breasts.
No awareness of self-examination
A staggering 90% rural women had no awareness about the benefits of self-examination. The report also noted that every third woman had no knowledge about breast cancer. However, on the positive side, Gangwane’s report shows that women showed great zest in learning about it.
What is dangerous is that almost 50% women patients’ cases showed a delay of more than three months in examining breast cancer and seeking medical care. And the reason women gave to justify not seeking medical assistance is that they did not feel any pain in their breast lump.
While incorrect initial diagnosis or late referral to examination are the most common causes for diagnostic delay, patients also delayed treatment as it is an expensive affair
“It’s urgent to have a national breast cancer program in India, while at the local level, we need to raise awareness among women about breast cancer,” said Gangwane.
The report suggested that it is an important task is to make women pay attention to the symptoms, seek care and diagnosis on time.
Picture credit- Girls Not Bride
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