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India can bring down cost for Breast Cancer Detection, says US Scientist

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Breast Cancer (representational Image), Pixabay

Kolkata, Feb 28, 2017: American genome expert Mary-Claire King, whose work resulted in the identification of the breast cancer gene BRCA1 and transformed the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, on Tuesday expressed faith in Indian scientists to make technology cheaper for breast cancer detection.

“We need to tackle this problem with modern 21st-century tools. The actual cost of sequencing patients dropped from about $4,000 to $250 (around Rs 16,000) in the US in the last few years. Indians are incredibly good at making technology better, faster and cheaper,” she said.

King was addressing a packed audience of researchers, students and faculty at a lecture here on ‘Understanding Inherited Breast and Ovarian Cancer: From Gene Discovery to Precision Medicine and Public Health’ for The Cell Press-TNQ India distinguished Lectureship Series, 2017. It was supported by National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani.

For India, the US National Medal of Science awardee proposed that every breast and ovarian cancer patient be tested genetically for mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2 as well as other known breast and ovarian cancer genes.

Specific inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers, and they have been associated with increased risks of several additional types of cancer.

“My proposition for India is every breast and ovarian cancer patient should be sequenced for mutations to BRCA1 and BRCA2 and all other known breast and ovarian cancer genes. I am not suggesting that in the resource-limited context here that all women above the age of 30 be screened, just begin with patients,” said the University of Washington professor.

Testing could help women predisposed to mutations to make an informed choice on whether to opt for risk-reducing surgery, chemoprevention and also encourage follow-ups of sisters and daughters of patients (there’s a 50 percent chance of passing it along).

The 71-year-old active researcher dubbed cervical cancer a “disease of poor women” while breast cancer is one of those “rare conditions that is a disease of prosperity”.

“The reason that breast cancer incidences are going up is because we are the most successful mammals that have ever lived, by this we mean we are fabulous. We are fertile longer, we are able and we are fit, we retain cognitive functions longer,” she added.

In addition to her work on identifying breast cancer genes, King is recognised worldwide for demonstrating that humans and chimpanzees are 99 per cent genetically identical and applying genomic sequencing to identify victims of human rights abuses (Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina wanted King to find their kidnapped grandchildren). (IANS)

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70 Lakh Women Screened for Breast Cancer Under Ayushman Bharat: Smriti Irani

Irani also said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Democratic Alliance-government was the first in the country, which not only set targets but also achieve it before the deadline

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Smriti Irani
Smriti Irani. Facebook

Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, more than 70 lakh women have undergone screening for breast cancer, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said on Saturday.

Irani was in Goa to launch a new health kit, launched by the Goa government’s Women and Child Ministry, which will help diagnose breast cancer and other medical ailments in association with Anganwadi workers.

“70 lakh women have screened for breast cancer through Ayushman Bharat scheme,” Irani said, adding that 30 lakh women across India have been screened for cervical cancer under the national universal health care scheme.

Breast cancer pink ribbon
Breast cancer survival rates are rising as screening and treatment improve. Pixabay

Irani also said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Democratic Alliance-government was the first in the country, which not only set targets but also achieve it before the deadline.

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“No one had thought that there would be a government at the Centre which will not just announce schemes, but will also achieve targets ahead of the deadline of 2020. Take the Ujjwala Yojana for example for which the target was providing free gas cylinders for five crore women. I am happy that today when we see Ujwala Yojana numbers, in just three years eight crore poor women have got clean fuel,” Irani also said. (IANS)