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Dickinson College

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

India: Public Health, Gender, and Community Action


India is currently undergoing rapid urbanization, which is greatly impacting Indian citizens’ health. One of the rising concerns due to the drastic lifestyle and environmental changes that are results of urbanization is the issue of breast cancer. Breast cancer diagnosis rates are rising exponentially, and breast cancer has moved its way up to be the most common cancer in India. Breast cancer mortality rates in India are also some of the worst in the world. This paper analyses the social, mental, economic, geographic, and physical challenges that are present for women diagnosed with cancer in India. It assesses how they decrease the woman’s likelihood of receiving early diagnosis and treatment. Late diagnosis is the main reason that the mortality rates are so high. The study also discusses solutions to the problems in the forms of awareness and education. The study was conducted through interviewing oncologists, counselors, social workers, female breast cancer survivors, and males from a variety of professions to understand the challenges that women face in receiving effective and early treatment for breast cancer. These interviews were conducted through Comprehensive Rural Health Project, Koshish, Jaipur Cancer Relief Society, Bhagwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital and Research Center, and a hostel in Jaipur. The challenges included fear of death, physical effects of treatment, pain of treatment, and lack of education. Through effective increased awareness and education provided to both men and women, these issues can be reduced, and mortality rates can drop despite the rising breast cancer epidemic.


Asian Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Medicine and Health | Mental and Social Health | Place and Environment | Women's Health


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