26 September, 2019
October is mainly a festive season in India, with the Dusshera and Diwali kicking in. Historically, it is one of those times when people in India shop more, with many families keeping their big-ticket purchases around this time. So, people buy new cars, phones, furniture, household appliances and even gold considering Dhanteras also, comes in between. Perhaps, that is the reason why India has not yet been fully taken on by a Pink revolution that has taken most other parts of the world by storm during the month of October.
Come October, you will find a sudden spurt in articles about breast cancer awareness, hospitals churning out special or free breast cancer screening, and a lot of talks and seminars on the event. October has been designated as the breast cancer awareness month for long, and been associated with the small Pink Ribbon, and hence has been dubbed as Pinktober. Why is it so important to create awareness about this disease?
While it is true that cancer is a deadly disease, it is also true that many of the cancers, especially breast cancer do have a good survival rate, especially if, diagnosed and treated early. And this can only be achieved through awareness drives like those being done in the month of October. In countries like India, women are still shy of speaking out about their problems related to breast and uterus.
Especially in rural India, there are possibilities that women may try to hide or ignore, or worse still, try to make do with some home remedies, etc., thinking the problem will go away. Ignorance, coupled with societal issues, as well as lack of access to good and affordable healthcare are also reasons why rural women do not seek help. The Ayushman Yojana started by the PM of India, Shri Narendra Modiji is addressing the affordability part of the issue; however, nothing is more important than awareness, and early diagnosis to save lives.
Here are a few numbers to drive home the point.
What we can do?
The statistics tell a rather alarming story about this deadly disease in India, and hence it is our collective responsibility to fight against it. And checkups, screening, and early detection, leading to early treatment is a must. While we celebrate the festive season, it is also important not to ignore the rather important message given by the little Pink Ribbon that you see around. Do not ignore the screening requests as well.
It is important to discuss this aspect with your doctor, and get a screening done, once a year; more so, if there have been instances of breast cancer in your family. Pinktober just serves as a reminder to us that this is a truth we cannot escape from. It is mostly a lifestyle-based disease, though there are instances of genetic mutations also that come in. The most important thing to do is create and spread awareness about it. One needs to take on the responsibility for screening self as well as other family members, household help, etc. It can save lives, and prevent them from becoming statistics in the fight against this disease.
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