The sound sleep cure
By Deepshikha Punj
09th September 2012 12:00 AM
Anuradha Vatsal, 32, has always been an overachiever. She had the perfect scores in school, the perfect job, a supportive husband and a beautiful daughter. Everything was going well for her except her health. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer constituting the 30 lakh women who suffer from this health problem in the metros.
Changing lifestyles and hectic routines have left no ‘me time’ for women, leading to problems such as aggressive breast cancer. According to a recent study, led by Cheryl Thompson, Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, women who reported six hours or less of sleep per night on average before breast cancer diagnosis had increased Oncotype DX tumor recurrence scores.
Dr Archana Dhawan Bajaj, Consultant Obstetrician, Gynecologist, Fertility & IVF Expert, The Nurture Clinic, New Delhi, says “Breast cancer is a ‘Multifactorial Disease’. There are many lifestyle, environment, and biological changes such as higher level of hormones, puberty, genes, lack of child bearing, breast feeding, late age of menopause, smoking and alcohol, lack of sleep that may be associated with this disease.”
The study which analysed medical records and survey responses from 412 post-menopausal breast cancer patients with Oncotype DX, found a strong correlation between fewer hours of sleep per night and worse recurrence scores, specifically in post-menopausal breast cancer patients.
“The incidence of breast cancer in India per 1,00,000 population is significantly less compared to US, France, Denmark, Sweden, Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Italy, Brazil and Japan, but the mortality is almost 50 per cent of the rate,” says Dhawan. In India breast cancer accounts for 1/3rd of cancers in women and usually seen in women between 40 to 60 years, she said. “The new breast cancer cases are about 1,15,000 per year and is expected to rise to 2,50,000 new cases per year by 2015,” she says. Dr Manish Singhal Consultant, Medical Oncology International Oncology Centre, Fortis Hospital, Noida adds, “In cities most can avail standardised care but in smaller places there is immense dearth of awareness.”
Even with the increase in the number of cases, awareness about breast cancer is very low in the country. Dhawan says, “In our country almost 80 per cent of breast cancer diagnosis is identified at an advance/last stage.”
Dr Kapil Kumar, consultant, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre says, “Diagnosis is only possible if women get tested regularly. Symptoms of initial stages include lumps in the breast accompanied by pain. Breathlessness and weakness are caused in advanced cancer.”
The first sign of breast cancer is a new lump in the breast, nipple discharge, skin irritation or dimpling, Breast pain, Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward, Redness and Thickness in nipple or breast skin. “It is advised that middle-aged women get their breast diagnose done once in a year,” says Dhawan.
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