Epidemiological Correlates of Breast Cancer in South India


Background: Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer in women globally and represents the second leadingcause of cancer death among women (after lung cancer). India is going through epidemiologic transition. It isreported that the incidence of breast cancer is rising rapidly as a result of changes in reproductive risk factors,dietary habits and increasing life expectancy, acting in concert with genetic factors. Materials and
Methods:In order to understand the existing epidemiological correlates of breast cancer in South India, a systematicreview of evidence available on epidemiologic correlates of breast cancer addressing incidence, prevalence,and associated factors like age, reproductive factors, cultural and religious factors was performed with specificfocus on screening procedures in southern India.
Results: An increase in breast cancer incidence due to variousmodifiable risk factors was noted, especially in women over 40 years of age, with late stage of presentation,lack of awareness about screening, costs, fear and stigma associated with the disease serving as major barriersfor early presentation.
Conclusions: Educational strategies should be aimed at modifying the life style, earlyplanning of pregnancy, promoting breast feeding and physical activity. It is very important to obtain reliabledata for planning policies, decision-making and setting up the priorities.