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Free taBOOBS: Interview with Dr. Uttam Soni

  • JWB Post
  •  November 11, 2014


Are you supporting us in our on-going campaign ‘Free taBOOBS’? This campaign is not just to spread awareness of breast cancer, but to remove the shyness associated with the topic. Why are we so embarrassed to ask our doctor about it? Why don’t we discuss this openly? Why do we secretly search about it online? The increasing cases of breast cancer is a sign of our lack of knowledge. This November, let us pull our socks and remove all the taboos. 

As we promised, we have brought to you our chat with renowned Jaipur Doctor Uttam Soni, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at Jaipur Breast and Cancer Research Institute at Sita Devi Hospital. Read our exclusive interview with him:

JWB – Good afternoon, Doctor. Thank you very much for taking out time.

Dr. Soni – I am more than glad to contribute towards your campaign.

JWB – How many breast cancer cases do you get every month from Jaipur alone?

Dr. Soni – About 20 a month, that makes 5 per week.

JWB – That’s petty much. Do you think women, in particular Jaipur women, are shy in terms of getting checked or asking the doctor more about breast cancer?

Dr. Soni – Though, at a big level women are braving this shyness. However, there is still 20% of them who need to breakfree.

JWB – Tell us about the connection of the breast cancer with heredity.

Dr. Soni – Getting this cancer because of heredity is a rare chance, say less than 10%. But I suggest, if your mother or grandmother, or even aunts, have had the breast cancer; get yourself checked immediately.

JWB – Any precautions to lower the risk of the breast cancer?

Dr. Soni – To have a healthy way of living is the cure to lower risk of every illness, including the breast cancer. Women must take care of their eating habits, should consume less alcohol, less fat food and more fruits and green vegetables. Also, regular physical exercise is the need of the hour.

Breast feeding reduces the chances majorly. If a woman bears her one child before the age of 30, she has less chances of getting breast cancer as compared to a woman who conceives after 35.

JWB – And, men can also have the breast cancer. Right?

Dr. Soni – Among my breast cancer patients, 2% are men.

JWB – Is Jaipur capable of handling advanced cases of the breast cancer OR doctors have to recommend patients to metro cities like Mumbai or Delhi?

Dr. Soni – Our city is absolutely advanced. Jaipur has every technology to cure and defeat breast cancer. The medication, diagnosis, etc are of international standards.

JWB – Please tell us about the expenses one has to bear for the complete treatment – mammography, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, other medications.

Dr. Soni – It is about 1-1.5 lakh. But the good news is that there are many institutions in Jaipur that provide financial aids to patients who cannot afford it. Examples are – Sita Devi hospital, KOSHISH – Mastectomy Association of India-Jaipur Chapter, Deepshikha Mahila Bal Utthan Samiti, etc.

JWB – Apart from the treatment, how can we motivate patients?

Dr. Soni – I tell them to stay strong. Breast cancer is not the end of this world and there are many women who share a similar fate. Remaining strong and positive is the key to fight everything, including breast cancer!

JWB – Such women must be worried about their physical appearance too, fearing their breast to be removed.

Dr. Soni – Not at all. At least, not in our society. The west has this problem where women are worried how they will look once the breast is removed. Instead, I have patients who ask me to get it done to get rid of the desease. However, we have a way out – to implant artificial breasts.

JWB – What if an unmarried girl is detected with breast cancer? Is it, in anyway, going to harm her married life or motherhood?

Dr. Soni – No. Such a woman can bear child and breastfeed. See, if the cancer is at advanced stage, things can scatter. But if detected on time, everything can be back to normal. I always suggest women must get themselves checked every year.

JWB – What is the role of men in the family of a breast cancer patient?

Dr. Soni – That’s a wonderful question. During treatments, the patient may become physically and emotionally weak. This is a good chance for men of the family to reveal their soft side. Help her in household chores. But most importantly, don’t let her break. Your holding hand will act as her support system. You need to be strong too.

I have also noticed that the process of medication, many a times, irritate family members. They think the treatments are going way too long. Have patience. It is the matter of a loved one’s life. Hence, during treatments I try to counsel family members as well.

JWB  – Is the society supposed to change its perception towards breast cancer patients?

Dr. Soni – There is a big need of it. Apart from not neglecting or cornering such patients, the society can motivate women to go for check ups. This will be the actual method of awareness. When family or friends will ask women to get the mammography done, they will listen.

When men are so particular about their health, why aren’t Indian women? Moreover, the cost of check-ups are really low and quite affordable by almost anyone.

JWB – Would you like to share any touching story you have come across?

Dr. Soni – Not touching, but motivating. There was a Jaipur lady, 50 yrs old who had the breast cancer at the advanced stage. Initially, she was really frustrated and wanted to leave the treatment half way. Then I spoke to her and got to know that she used to suffer from severe side-effects and pain during treatments. Knowing this, the medical team supported her and took extra care. This inspired her a lot. You won’t believe, this lady started coming on her own by driving all the way to get the radio therapies done. She braved many chemotherapies and even surgery. Today, she has come out victorious from her life-threatening cancer. Reason – her never giving up spirit and positive attitude. I always give her example to my patients.

This interview seems to be very helpful in terms of understanding the basics of the breast cancer? If you like it, tell us in the comments below!

PS – We’re eagerly waiting to share stories of breast cancer survivors and fighters.

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