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breast cancer 17 Jul 2017

Technological advancements for breast cancer treatments in India

Breast cancer is a serious topic of concern among women and fighting it with the help of new ideas and innovations is the need of the hour.

By Chander Shekhar Sibal Executive Vice President and Head of Medical Division

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females worldwide and India is not an exception. It is steadily increasing in our country. With an annual incidence of approximately 1,44,000 new cases, breast cancer has now become the most common female cancer in urban India.

The Web of Breast Cancer
According to experts, most of the cases in India are diagnosed very late resulting low survival rates. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 60% of the women in India was diagnosed with breast cancer at stage III or IV. The National Cancer Registry projects that the number of breast cancer cases will rise from 1.34 lakh in 2015 to 1.79 lakh by 2020. It is estimated that 1 in 28 women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime, with the incidence rising in the early thirties and peaking at ages 50-64 years. Lack of awareness of cancer and screening for the disease are significant contributory factors for the relatively late stage of the disease presentation and consequently low reported cancer incidences in India.

The Aid of Technology
Though the above numbers look very grim, treatments for the disease have rapidly advanced in the recent past with new innovations in medical science. Doctors and researchers have come up with various technological advances providing hope to millions of women to begin a new life.

Half the battle is won if we have the facility to detect the disease early. Early detection presents a good chance of cure and long-term survival. Through regular screening programs help early identification of the disease, the absence of such facility hampered India’s battle against breast cancer.

The Latest in the Battle Against Breast Cancer
Of late private companies have come out with new and innovative diagnose facilities to help doctors early detection and treatment of breast cancer in India. Fujifilm India Pvt Ltd, a pioneer in the development and application of imaging and information innovations to healthcare technologies, had partnered with different institutes all over India for the installation of its 50 Micron 3D Mammography machine - a highly advanced breast cancer diagnostic machine that has made early detection of breast cancer a reality for women. Fujifilm’s advanced tomosynthesis technology reveals the internal structure of the breast thus simplifying the detection of lesions that gets overlooked in a routine mammography. Similarly, start-ups also use artificial intelligence over thermal images to address the issues of early detection of breast cancer.

Several features of Amulet Innovality offer women a safe and personalised screening experience, making it easier for them to come for breast examinations. This unique system caters to the unique biological makeup of every woman: The Intelligent Automatic Exposure Control (i-AEC) defines the optimum X ray dosage for each breast type, compared to conventional AEC where the sensor position is fixed. A Direct Conversion flat panel detector with a 50-micron pixel resolution and other advanced technological features also give this system a distinct edge over others. 50-micron resolution is the best resolution and it helps detects cancer at a very early stage.

Further, C-MET, Centre for Materials for Electronic and Technology, under the aegis of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, has developed a wearable device for an early detection of breast cancer, which mammograms may fail to detect.

The Armour against Breast Cancer
Other major trends that are used in the detection of breast cancer are 3D tomosynthesis, 2D tomosynthesis, Breast MRI and Automated Breast Ultra Sound (ABUS). A mammogram also is known as tomosynthesis continues to be the best first line defence for early breast cancer screening.

While the installation of the state-of-the-art Amulet Innovality is giving respite to women in India in their battle against breast cancer there is greater need to expand such facility in other parts of the country, particularly in rural areas.

All these new innovations in medical science are facilitating better and accurate diagnosis in detecting cancerous breast lesions at an early stage. Inevitably this will help in increasing the survival rates.

Conclusion
Both globally and in India, the treatment of breast cancer is advancing from one breakthrough to another. New technological advancements such as Amulet Innovality, tomosynthesis, AI, etc will go a long way in providing better treatment to breast cancer patients. They are game changers for cancer patients across the country. However, the need of the hour is to spread awareness about such facilities among rural women so that more and more women can avail the facility for the timely detection and proper treatment.

This article has been authored by Mr Chander Shekhar Sibal, Executive Vice President, Head of Medical Division, Fujifilm India

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