It is general knowledge that by the time we are in our 20s – 30s, women should start making regular trips to the gynecologist for more than just a health scare. Regular check-ups and visits to ensure you are healthy every which way is a must these days. But doctors in Pune are facing a strange conundrum.
Women in Pune are getting affected by a strange breast disease, the symptoms of which are eerily similar to TB and diabetes and gynecs are clueless about what it is.
Doctors are left baffled and the only thing they are certain about is, that it’s not cancer.
Prajakta Jadhav (name changed), a 28-year-old teacher from Pune, was scared when she found a lump in her left breast.
She said, “It was swollen and misshapen, there was discharge oozing out. I took some painkillers and hoped it would recede. Instead, it got worse and I became sick and nauseous. I went (to the oncologist) and was told it was a severe infection and that pus had formed in my breast. I underwent surgery to drain out the pus but am still unaware of why it happened. I am not lactating and am quite hygiene-conscious.”
Asha Mule (name changed) from Pimpri underwent a similar ordeal when she noticed a bubble-shaped formation on her left nipple which eventually became worse and hardened and reddened.
She said, “I thought it was a cancerous lump — fortunately it was not. However, I have been on medication for the past four months. The infection is reducing, but I was told that there was no particular cause detected in the tests.”
Doctors say that the number of cases has increased over the past five years by 50% and while earlier it infected women in their 40s, it has now started affecting women in early 20s and 30s too.
Dr. Anupama Mane, from Ruby Hall Clinic, says, “The shift in age and the increase in numbers are worrisome. The troublesome part is that no cause has been detected so far. There are several theories, but nothing has been fixed yet. This means we lack a standard protocol for treating such cases and the infection takes a long time to heal — sometimes several months.”
Dr. CB Koppiker agreed and added, “It is an immunological phenomenon, but nobody knows the reason behind the sudden spurt in breast infection. The cases were reported in the past, too, but not with such severity and large numbers. Every month, we see around six new cases and 15 to 30 coming back from before. It resembles breast TB but it isn’t that and we cannot come up with a concrete reason. Many a time, due to a misdiagnosis, patients go straight for surgery. But, if this is picked up on early, this isn’t required.”