By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As researchers continue to search for a cure for breast cancer, they continue to look at the affect the disease has on different groups, such as age, race and nationality. New studies show women of Indian descent in the United States are being diagnosed with breast cancer more than women in India.
“It’s not easy, it’s really hard, but you have to do it,” Meena Kapoor says as she fights back tears and as she fights for her life.
Meena has Stage-Four breast cancer – which has spread to other parts of her body. She is of Indian descent – and has noticed a number of relatives being diagnosed with breast cancer, too.
“My husband’s brother’s wife had it but now she is okay, she is free of cancer,” Meena says, “and my aunt, my uncle’s wife.”
Dr. Sramila Aithal with Cancer Treatment Centers of America says the number of breast cancer diagnoses among South Asian women in the United States has gone up.
“Immigrants that are here may have lower rates of incidents of breast cancer,” Aithal says, “but South Asian women that are born here may have rates almost as similar as woman of Caucasian race.”
Studies show more Indian women are being diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. than woman in India. Dr. Aithal says that could be due to an increase of detection and lifestyle differences.
“Age of first birth of their child,” she says, “lack of breast feeding, number of pregnancies, use of hormonal therapies.”
Doctors stress the importance of awareness to get women in for their yearly mammograms in hopes of early detection.
“There is certainly some sort of stigma that is affiliated with breast cancer in South Asian woman,” Aithal says, “but that is quickly changing.”
Meena speaks out to others – as she tries to beat cancer.
“I have to fight for myself,” Meena says.
A battle she hopes to win.