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Kolkata: Women Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI) hosted a virtual discussion on Breast Issues with renowned Professor and Department of Surgery IPGME&R SSKM Hospital Dr. Shamita Chatterjee (MBBS, MS, General Surgery Mumbai, FMAS, FAIS) who spoke at length on the topic “I have a breast issue – should I press the panic button?” – highlighting the change in paradigm from fear but awareness which will take us forward.The session which saw a discerning turnout of guests and followers of WICCI, impressed upon the fact that ladies get extremely paranoid with any kind of issues related to their mark of femininity more so because societal norms have programmed our minds to press the panic button about any small thing related to the breast by our friends, relatives, colleague and all our acquaintance from time immemorial. The virtual discussion delved deep into the psyche segregating fact from preconceived notions to understand scientifically whether we need to panic about any small issue related to the breast or not.

Speaking during the virtual webinar, Dr. Shamita Chatterjee, stated , “It is my utmost pleasure to share my experience of over 30 years with people who thinks alike and are prepared to go further to share the knowledge when and where it is necessary.”

Dr. Chatterjee further elaborated, “There is fine difference between the word  Worry and Concern. Worry makes one fearful, paralyses our mind, makes us think irrational and be stressful.

Whereas Concern is something which makes us focus on the issue, helps to make rational choices, and destresses our mind. Our thought process must move from worry to concern when we are thinking of the issue related to breast.”

Dr. Chatterjee enlightened the audience with several case studies –

Case Study 1-

21-year-old college student visits her in a state of panic, only thing she says, ma’am I have tumour in my breast. Her mother who was accompany her thought that her daughter has reached the last stage of her life. She reveals that a marble size tumour was detected accidently during bath which was painless. It was just a Fibroadenoma which is often found in the young girls and Ladies at the age of 20’s and 30’s. It is just a variation of the human body and 9 out of 10 times the patient only needs is reassurance and it is the commonest form of lump for young girls.

Case 2- A 35-year-old professional reports with pain in the breast, even when the clothes rub against her body it hurts, and she was unable to lift her little child sometimes.

This is the scenario of a very common in every clinic of ours find 15 to 20 ladies in their reproductive age with such a complaint. Was it an object that had hurt her or she was accidentally kicked by her baby? Very commonly we see that the pain is more intense just before your period starts and after periods gets over, pain tends to subside significantly after the periods. So typically, it can be a cyclical pain every month or a non-cyclical pain due to an external injury or it may be non-breast pain, meaning it may have arisen from other organ of the locality like heart and lungs which is just behind our breast. It is very important to find out which category you fall under.

Dr. Chatterjee, also stated, “80% of women experience breast pain in their lifetime because of non-cancer causes, it is mostly a feature of benign (non-cancerous) breast disease. If one is experiencing breast pain, don’t press the panic button. There are very few cancer patients who suffers from this form of pain. If you are having a pain in the breast, just remember it can be because of other causes too.

Dr. Chatterjee shared some concerning data regarding Breast Cancer in India. Cancer in India is common, but breast cancer is among the most common diseases and the numbers are humungous. From 2018, 1,62,468- new breast cancer patients were diagnosed in India and out of them 87,090 lost their fight against this deadly disease. 1 out of 28 women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime in India. In The United States it is 1 out of 8 women who has a breast cancer are

Hormone called Prolactin generally causes such issues which may recur even after mother stops breastfeeding or because of infection or blood discharge. If it is spontaneous, unilateral, single/multiple then one must be alert and consult a specialist

mostly due to lifestyle disorder. In India, most of the women contacting cancer falls within the age group of 35 to 64 years and Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Delhi have the highest rates of breast cancer. 90% breast cancer are lifestyle related, around one-third can be prevented by lifestyle modification. Only 5-10 % breast cancer are hereditary, and breast cancer can be treatable, if detected early. Late detection reduces survival rate by 3 to 17 times. So, the earlier the patient visits a doctor, the quicker the diagnosis will commence and there can be faster turnaround.

Dr. Chatterjee also asserted, “The best way to keep yourself healthy is to examine your breasts every month so that one is intimately familiar with their geography – every dip, lump and thickening. Breast lumpiness and soreness is most likely to occur the week before a woman’s period and ease up after menstruation begins. So check yourself monthly, if you feel any discomfort have a breast examination done by doctor or nurse every year starting at age 20, get regular mammograms beginning at age 40 once every year.” 

The session was hosted by WICCI Bengal Chapter and was supported by Dr. Harbeen Arora, Global Chairperson All Ladies League, Founder of WICCI and founder of Sheconomy, Ms Manjula Jain Regional President Eastern Region WICCI, Ms. Indu Gandhi Regional Vice President Eastern Region WICCI and Ms. Usha Agarwala  Mentor Regional Council Eastern Region of WICCI and Ms. Soma Chakraborty, President of WICCI Healthcare Council, West Bengal Chapter.