What is the impact of new developments in breast cancer care and treatment on Indian patients?


What is the impact of new developments in breast cancer care and treatment on Indian patients?

Do you know which type of cancer is most frequently diagnosed globally? Not lung cancer, but breast cancer. In December 2020, data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) revealed that breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer as the most prevalent type of cancer worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 685 000 women will die from breast cancer worldwide in 2020, out of the 2.3 million women who have been diagnosed with the disease. One of the causes of the high mortality rates from breast cancer is the delay in detection and treatment.

Be aware that, when detected early, breast cancer is very treatable. New developments in breast cancer treatment have also significantly raised patient survival rates and quality of life.

What significant advancements in breast cancer diagnosis and care have occurred globally over the past ten years?

The diagnosis and treatment of all malignancies have seen a significant change in the past ten years, and breast cancer is no exception.

Previously, we predominantly saw this disease in women over 50, but currently, both males and younger age groups are experiencing an increase in incidence. Both globally and regionally, its incidence has increased. As of right now, this is the most common type of cancer in women in our area.

A lot has changed in diagnostics as well. Right now, breast cancer can be staged perfectly. A new tool in the diagnostic toolbox is PET CT.

A further molecular analysis for the past five years, OncoStem Diagnostics' CanAssist Breast has been used to predict a patient's prognosis and determine whether chemotherapy will be beneficial for the patient. For Indian patients, specifically, this test has been created.

Better treatment facilities are available for the cure and to stop disease development despite the rise of younger females.

We currently know about the basal, mesenchymal, triple negative, HER 2 neu positive, BRCA, P53, hormone positive, androgen related, as well as HER 2 positive and HER 2 negative breast cancers.

Thanks to developments in molecular signatures, if cancer has returned, we can now be certain whether it is a return of a prior malignancy or a new 2nd primary.

Can you provide some information about improvements in the treatment of breast cancer as well?

Clinicians can now predict how a patient's disease will develop because to the development of molecular diagnostics. Many breast cancer prognostic tests are available to assist clinicians in the planning of treatment for patients with hormone-positive early-stage breast cancer. In order to determine whether a patient would benefit from chemotherapy or not, these tests examine particular biomarkers.

One such test is CanAssist Breast, which was specifically developed for the Indian patient group and employs 3 clinical parameters and 5 proprietary biomarkers to assess a patient's risk of illness recurrence. Patients who are considered to be at low risk will not benefit from chemotherapy and can forego the more rigorous chemotherapy regimen. Chemotherapy is only beneficial for those at high risk.

The application of HER2-directed treatments is a further significant development. The survival rate of breast cancer patients is significantly impacted by the protein HER2, which encourages the proliferation of cancer cells. Although not all breast tumors over express HER2, the one in five that do can be successfully treated with medications that interfere with this protein. The way that HER2-positive breast cancer is treated has been transformed by HER2-directed treatments. These medications can treat both early-stage and late-stage HER2-positive breast cancer, which makes them useful for a variety of individuals and can lower the chance of recurrence in the early stages of the illness.

Additionally, there are numerous novel imaging procedures that aid in improving breast cancer screening. Previously, mammography or ultrasounds were used by doctors to check for breast cancer. But today, clinicians all across the world are using a variety of novel test types to get a more exact and reliable diagnosis. These tests include optical imaging, molecular breast imaging, positron emission mammography, and electrical impedance tomography.

Many bone-targeted medications have been created to stop the development of cancer to the bone since breast cancer has a high likelihood of spreading to bones. Chemotherapy can directly target cancer cells using nano particles without harming healthy tissue nearby. In doing so, the treatments would be more effective and have fewer negative side effects. There are many medications that can be used. People are being evaluated.

Are these advancements available to breast cancer sufferers in India?

Prior to recent changes, we used to administer chemotherapy to all HR+ patients after surgery. Prior to now, we had to send these surgical blocks to the US for a test created in the west that was only affordable for 1% of patients. We now have the CanAssist Breast model, which was created and tested on Indian patients and connected with the currently available western assays to determine if chemotherapy will be helpful or not. It is based on five IHC markers and a machine learning-based algorithm. The general populace may afford this test quite easily.

India currently offers small molecules for the treatment of breast cancer in the form of tablets.

India's prevalence of breast cancer

The most typical malignancy among Indian women is breast cancer. Sadly, the number of instances keeps rising, particularly in metropolitan India. Health professionals attribute it to rising lifestyle-related problems such as obesity, excessive calorie consumption, little exercise, and shifting reproductive choices.

In its report on the "Burden of malignancies in India," published early this year, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) issued a warning that the country's 26.7 million cancer patients may climb to 29.8 million by 2025. Additionally, seven malignancies that make up more than 40% of all cases of cancer were listed in the paper. These include uterine cancer (5.7%), mouth cancer (5.7%), liver cancer (4.6%), stomach cancer (5.2%), esophageal cancer (5.7%), lung cancer (10.6%), breast cancer (10.5%), and mouth cancer (5.7%) (4.3 per cent).
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