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Incidence of breast cancer in Mumbai

The adjoining graph sourced from PBCR 2012 - 2014 shows the incidence of breast cancer in Mumbai presently. Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women in Mumbai.

  • Breast cancer accounts to about 28.8% of all cancers in women in Mumbai.

  • Approximately 2000 to 2500 new cases of breast cancer are detected every year in Mumbai, and the number is ever rising.

The numbers in this registry tend to be lower than the real incidence, because a significant number of breast cancer patients are managed at small hospitals and nursing homes, which may not be reported at all. Secondly, you can clearly see, how breast cancer is far ahead of cervical cancer, which is actually reducing in incidence.

Common age groups for breast cancer in Mumbai

A few decades back:

  • Almost 65% to 70% of women suffering from breast cancer were above 50 years

  • Only 30 to 35% women were below fifty years of age.

However, presently, breast cancer is more common in the younger age group and 52% of all women suffering from breast cancer in Mumbai are below 50 years of age. A significant number of patients are below 30 years. The reason is NOT that few decades back, it was not detected earlier and now it is being detected earlier. The reason IS that there has been a very genuine rise in the incidence of breast cancer in younger women. Please understand that breast cancer is increasing even in the older population; it is just that the increase in younger population is more than that in the older population; maybe because of the predominant young population in India. All this is evident in the official HBCR chart shown below, which shows the age distribution of breast cancer in various cities.

What changes do we see over last few decades?

As is evident from the graph below, there has been a significant rise in the number of breast cancer cases as compared to earlier.

  • In 1982 - 83, breast cancer accounted for about 20% of all cancers in women in Mumbai.

  • Presently, according to 2011 statistics, breast cancer accounts for 30% of all cancers in women in Mumbai.

What do I learn from these statistics?

The answer is very evident. We are witnessing breast cancer in much younger age than earlier, the number of breast cancer cases is rising rapidly, and more people are coming in advanced stages. Also, breast cancers in the young tend to be more aggressive than cancers in the older population. So the NEED OF THE HOUR is breast awareness, begining from 20 years of age, and regulal screening from a qualified doctor, so that we can detect the cancer early and treat it in earlier stages thereby giving a chance of longer life for the patient as also decreasing the chance of a recurrence.