A Glance at the Past, the Present and the Future: Individualised Cancer Care

Though cancer is one of the oldest diseases since ancient Egypt, the challenges of addressing the fear, treatment and cure of this illness continue to exist. The growing knowledge and medical advances of cancer biology, particularly that of breast cancer, have changed the approach of a previously incurable condition to a treatable and at times a curable condition.


The standard treatment for breast cancer was complete removal of the breast (mastectomy) until the 1980’s when breast-conserving surgery was introduced. Over the years, several researches have shown that removing the breast tumour with a rim of normal tissue around it while preserving the rest of the breast (BCS) was equally safe. Breast-conserving surgery followed by local radiotherapy has shown to have a better outcome with cancer treatment in addition to maintaining a woman’s body image and quality of life.

Further understanding of the different types of breast cancer led to the development of various therapeutic options such as chemotherapy and targeted therapy. This progress led visionaries to use a combination of treatments, improving results and reducing morbidity introducing the era of individualised cancer care.

Early detection of breast cancer is key to less aggressive treatments. With more screening modalities, cancer can be detected at an early stage before it starts to spread. Screening also helps identify pre-cancerous changes which can be treated, avoiding the development of cancer. Mammogram is advised as part of screening for women over the age of 40 years once every two years. Women aged 18-40 years of age are advised monthly self-breast examination. If there is a doubt, a clinical examination by a specialist and age-appropriate imaging such as an ultrasound or MRI is advised. Where there is a strong family history of breast cancer, screening may be advised at more frequent intervals or test for a genetic mutation within the family. If an individual is found to have a genetic mutation, several preventive and risk reducing methods can be discussed with your specialist.

Furthermore, liquid biopsies which are a simple blood test that can identify early circulating tumour cells have been introduced in the field of oncology showing a promising step closer to personalised cancer care.

Join hands with Kauvery breast services to find it!

Fight It! This #pinktober.


Dr. Kirti Katherine Kabeer
Consultant Breast Specialist and Oncoplastic Surgery
Kauvery Hospital Chennai