Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the world and, by far, the most frequent cancer among women1. It is the leading cancer killer among women aged 20–59 years worldwide2. Alarmingly, every 19 seconds someone is diagnosed with breast cancer and every 74 seconds someone dies from it3.
India is experiencing an unprecedented rise in breast cancer incidences across all sections of society. A recent study of breast cancer risk in India has revealed that one in 28 women develops breast cancer during her lifetime, making it the most common cancer among women in India.
Given the low priority attached to healthcare in India, there is miniscule cognizance about the gravity of a disease as grave as breast cancer. Women, especially in rural areas, shy away from getting themselves checked by male healthcare professionals. Moreover, poor healthcare infrastructure means that a large chunk of the population in India have zero or limited access to screening facilities. These factors indicate that Indian women seek medical attention only when symptoms of the disease show up.
In India, one in two women diagnosed with breast cancer succumbs to it, whereas in the western world one out of four women die of breast cancer.
As per Globocan 2012, of the annual 145,000 breast cancer cases in India, 70,000 die every year from the disease.
In comparison, breast cancer cases in US are 233,000 a year but leads to much fewer deaths at 44,000. Survival rates in the US are better because of early detection and intervention.
If India is to improve survival rates for breast cancer it needs to aggressively promote awareness about the benefits of early screening and detection. Early detection and prognosis offers the best chance of survival as the right treatment, at the right time, can prevent the progression of the disease.
Biocon has been in the forefront of a long-running crusade against breast cancer. The company introduced the world’s most affordable follow-on Trastuzumab (CANMAb™) in 2014, which enhanced access to a more affordable treatment for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in India. This important life-saving drug has already made a significant difference in the lives of several thousand patients.
In its mission to increase awareness and early diagnosis of breast cancer, Biocon engages with its stakeholders through various initiatives targeted at sensitizing them about this deadly disease. Biocon also organises screening camps for the under privileged in rural and semi-urban India.
In order to give impetus to its crusade against cancer and to commemorate ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ in October, Biocon joined hands with UK’s largest breast cancer research charity, ‘Breast Cancer Now’ to support its worldwide campaign, “#WearItPink” and held a successful in-house offline and online social media campaign to raise awareness about the disease.
Biocon showed its support to the global campaign by encouraging its employees to wear “Pink”. We started the hashtag ‘#DetecttoDefeat’ to educate on the importance of early detection and prognosis in breast cancer. Kiosks were set up across various locations of Biocon wherein the employees took part in the awareness program by taking selfies with pink ribbons, breast cancer awareness photo frames and placards with interesting messages.
The campaign received a positive response with nearly 500 Bioconites participating across locations. Overall, the campaign reached out to approximately 42,000 people.
Biocon has been curating and sharing content aimed at sensitizing people on breast cancer early detection for the month of October through various social media platforms.
- Globocan 2012
- WHO data
- “U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics | Breastcancer.Org”. Breastcancer.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016