Teen’s breast cancer drive

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | PRIYA RATHNAM
Published Apr 10, 2019, 12:02 am IST
Updated Apr 10, 2019, 12:02 am IST
Aditi Iyengar, 16-year-old 10th grader will be giving a speech on this deadly disease at The Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharmashala.
Aditi Iyengar
 Aditi Iyengar

How painful it is to see someone you know with a tumor that caused death and the end-result says, the dreadful breast cancer killed the person. Aditi saw the trauma of her family friend’s mother in person. She was not aware of her condition nor of the treatment. She was not aware that these are the symptoms for breast cancer. She was not aware of the immediate treatment that she is supposed to go with. Eventually that caused the death of the person. Aditi who has seen this phase of suffering wanted spread awareness about it. She is visiting the Tibetan Village Center today to conduct a speech about breast cancer awareness.

Aditi Iyenger, a 16-year-old 10th grader from National Public School, HSR Layout who is also a traveler, artist, author and photographer by passion from Bengaluru was determined in her motive to spread awareness of breast cancer. Aditi said, “The social stigma regarding breast cancer amongst women is high. Firstly, women are not aware and secondly the taboo they are stuck with. I have not been able to do any campaigns but what persuaded me is the extreme percentage of deaths universally due to lack of awareness.”

 

Seeing the state of her family friend’s mother, observing the statistics of deaths, noticing the lack of awareness made her take this lead. Brought up in a metropolitan city, seeing the advancements and the moving generation inspired her to spread awareness in the remote areas among growing kids, illiterate women and the tribal people. She is going to give a speech and interact with the kids and women of that locality. She chose that place where there is a community in exile for the care and education of orphans and refugees from the Tibetan Children’s village.

Her interest in spreading awareness made her to intern in places like Virtusa and HCG (Health Care Global Enterprises Ltd. Hospital).  She says, “I learned machine and deep learning which are programmes to identify cancer. My visit to a cancer hospital in Chennai, notes and information from my biology teacher and various research material is now assisting me with the speech.”

Aditi’s speech will focus on simple self-examination techniques, regular screening using mammograms, risk factors, primitive signs and symptoms of breast cancer. It also suggests the healing of breast cancer with early detection and treatment. The lack of awareness of this cancer, the lack of screening, low prioritisation on health care that eventually leads to the death of the victim. Though there are many survivors, it happened because of early detection. Ultimately the point is low awareness amongst women is leading to death. Preventing cancer is impossible but it can be detected therby diminishing the percentage of deaths due to breast cancer.   

From the early 30s, India has been recording high breast cancer incidences amongst the age groups of 50 to 64. 1 in 28 women develops cancer during her lifetime. Looking at the urban statistics, 1 in 22 women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime whereas in rural areas, 1 in 60 women develops breast cancer in her lifetime. In the speech, she recommends the use of artificial intelligence through machine learning, deep learning with the help of advanced technology used in accurate prediction of the tumor. The data of these could be the test data from Fine Needle Aspiration Test or from mammogram images.

Aditi adds, “I will be talking about lifestyles, family history, screening and its avoidance. I will highlight various lifestyles and its factors that causes breast cancer that are avoidable. There is a high chance of cancer if there is a history of breast cancer, so it is important to get yourself screened. Avoiding exposure of radiation, encouraging breast-feeding, maintaining perfect health and avoid hormonal pills are few ways which reduce the chance of getting breast cancer. I will also highlight how Tibetan Yoga helps breast cancer patients deal with other health issues like insomnia leading to trauma.”

Aditi also says, “My internship of 14 months helped with the necessary information.  My visit to a pathology lab helped me understand the analysis, development and process of cancer. My intention is to reach out to those in remote areas and spread awareness amongst them. Creating awareness is the crucial step that helps a lot of women. I will also be reaching out to the high school girls and teachers to motivate them to spread the learnings of breast cancer amongst others. A pinch of knowledge, little insights about the cancer, little research and being aware of the technology too helps. I conclude by inspiring them saying ‘what we are left behind with is a resolve to stay strong, stay brave, and respect ourselves, live with dignity and fight like a girl!’”

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