There is a need to clear the myths surrounding women and childhood cancers so that patients do not delay their treatment and present themselves at specialised centres in the early stages. This was stated by three experts from Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre (RGCIRC), Delhi who were in Moradabad to hold a conclave with city doctors in association with IMA Moradabad.
Dr Manish Sharma, Dr Leena Dadhwal and Dr. Payal Malhotra held detailed interaction with city-based doctors. The meeting was presided over by Dr Gopesh Mehrotra, Prof Poonam Singh and Dr Vimita Agarwal, President, Hon. Secretary and Treasurer of IMA Moradabad respectively.
Dr Manish Sharma, Consultant, Medical Oncology, RGCIRC (Niti Bagh), stated that breast cancer was the most common cancer amongst women in urban areas. There is a myth that a painless lump in the breast is harmless and hence women delay visiting a doctor. Actually there is more probability of cancer in painless lumps. Another myth is that biopsy leads to spread of cancer which needs to be cleared.
Dr Leena Dadhwal, Consultant, Surgical Oncology, RGCIRC (Niti Bagh) spoke about new breast conservation surgery. Early it was believed that breast cancer will lead to removal of breasts. However that is not the case. New surgeries are available that can help conserve the breasts in nearly 80% of the cases by just removing the lump.
According to Dr Sharma and Dr Dadhwal, the risk factors for breast cancer include family history, old age, hormonal imbalance, early menarche and late menopause besides lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcohol. A woman should go for regular examination and screening after the age of 40 years.
Dr. Payal Malhotra, Consultant Paediatric Oncology, RGCIRC (Rohini) discussed the common myth about childhood cancer. Childhood and adult cancers are not the same and childhood cancers are highly curable. Childhood cancer is very rare but it is important to understand the red flag signs. These need to be identified and children need to be referred to specialised paediatric cancer centres with multi-disciplinary teams. This calls for the important role of general practitioners in identifying the red flag signs.