According to Dr. Geetha Manjunath of Niramai Analytics, breast cancer is completely curable. If you detect it early enough, every death should be preventable. And, yet, India accounts for 15% of the total annual death rate as we can only save half of our breast cancer patients. As Dr. Manjunath puts it, the rate of success is about as high as predicting the toss of coin.
The discrepancy between theory and reality is simple; problems with methods of detection of breast cancer. The famed method of discovering lumps in your breast through touch is actually only applicable for Stage III and Stage IV cancers. By that point survival rates decrease dramatically. Even mammographs only work for women older than 45, and even then occasionally are useless.
Additionally, the prices of breast cancer detection methods are expensive, invasive and painful. Mammographs cost around Rs. 3,000, not to mention ultrasounds and biopsy surgeries. Considering the levels of x-ray radiation involved in mammography, it is not surprising that most Indians don’t get regular breast cancer check-ups.
However, Niramai believes that they have cracked the formula for predicting breast cancer via a new machine they have developed. The best part? It is non-invasive, painless, cheap and short. A 15-minute session by yourself in front of the machine – which overcomes the cultural stigma of male physicians conducting breast examinations – and you will know if you are free of cancer, susceptible to the disease, or have already contracted breast cancer.
You can also listen to this interview as a podcast here.