Perhaps breast cancer is the kind of the killer disease that has had the most awareness and support generated around it, with October having been declared as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Awareness about the illness does not do anything to directly reduce its incidence, it does help women (and much fewer men) to recognize the early warning signs of breast cancer and seek immediate intervention from a primary health caregiver.


Symptoms and Causes

The commonest of the first telltale signs of breast cancer are lumps you will be able to feel in your breast. You may notice a change when you touch the skin on your breast, an inverted nipple, and scabs forming over your breasts around the nipples. Some victims observe a redness and tenderness of skin as well.


Doctors have found that breast cancer is caused by complex interactions between the sufferer’s genetic makeup (certain mutative genes put some women at a higher risk) as well as environmental factors. Women are more at risk than men; women who have never had a child, those with a strong family history of cancer, and those who begin menstruating early and menopausing late are at increased risk. Obese women get breast cancer more often than those who manage their weight well and have an active lifestyle.


Getting help for breast cancer

After the age of forty, women are encouraged to go in for annual mammograms and regularly perform breast self-exams, in order to find any abnormality in how the organs feel to the touch. Women at high risk genetically have been prescribed chemo-preventers in recent years, and in developed countries, given the right to choose if they should have healthy breasts removed to contain risks of developing cancer. Nevertheless, 12.4% of all women are diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.


If diagnosed, breast cancer is treated at the discretion of the oncologist, who determines (based on what stage the cancer is at) whether surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormone therapy (or even a combination of these) is the best option available for curing cancer. Relapses are not unheard of. Palliative care is recommended by physicians as a way of arresting pain and increasing the patient’s level of comfort while aggressive measures are taken to eradicate cancer.


Medical crowdfunding has become an established method for those with breast cancer to ask for help with funds in the digital space. Donors pool funds in response and give to meet treatment costs. In India, crowdfunding platforms like Impact Guru are beginning to join the public effort to beat breast cancer and are raising funds for those with the disease in a modern and hassle-free way of extending aid.