We were very delighted for this one when Shillong city’s most dynamic Café welcomed Team Aaroogya with their famous mouthwatering Pancake. We had to summon our Series of camps in the State with a session in the city to draw a holistic approach in comparing the challenges, causative factors, exposure factors, myths and awareness quotient between the Rural and city dwelling citizens of the Rock Capital. Meghalaya is a matriarchal state and the beauty of the rare concept comes with challenges for the female folk running the household and earning the livelihood at the same time for the family, exposing them to more stress relatively, unhealthy lifestyle and substance abuse. We had an attendance of over 200 females with their brothers, husbands, peers, and acquaintances.
We did disease awareness education session, taught them Breast Self –Examination, did a free clinical screening, recorded the positive family history of relevant susceptible individuals, mobilized suspected patients and the ones with family history to partner clinicians.
It has been suggested that the high incidence of hormone-related diseases, such as breast cancer, is due, in part, to the presence of environmental estrogens. And as Our Chief (Prof. Dr. Julka, Former Dean, AIIMS) says, Estrogen or female hormone is the culprit and lifestyle ill regulation, Obesity harboring unhealthy fats releasing Estrogen, Estrogen basedHormonal Replacement Therapy prevalent in Urban Population, Oral pills rich in Estrogen are prime causative and as he calls it, Modifiable factors which can be reversed to Prevent Breast Cancer. In fact, a number of chemicals present in the environment demonstrate estrogen-like activity. The best-studied metalloestrogen is cadmium.
There is a growing body of evidence that metalloestrogens activate ERα in vitro. Most of the published studies address the ability of cadmium to activate the genomic and nongenomic pathways of ERα and show that, similar to estradiol, cadmium induces the proliferation of estrogen dependent breast cancer cells
Phytoestrogens, such as coumestrol and the isoflavonegenistein, are naturally occurring nonsteroidal compounds that are derived from plants, while xenoestrogens, such as bisphenol A, and the polychlorinated biphenyls dicholorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its metabolite p, p’-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, are synthetic chemicals that activate the estrogen receptor (ER).
Dealing with a mob also requires a balance of individual delivery to make justice to this awareness movement, what can be a better approach than Applied Anthropology with all other elements.
Each anthropological approach should be considered in any sort of disease, but in this case, I would personally take the applied approach when dealing with breast cancer. Applied medical anthropology deals with understanding disease in ways of solving problems, finding improvements, and observing trends across the world. Globalization has expanded medicine out to many various cultures and has an influence on how health is maintained. Thus, breast cancer around the world is interpreted and handled differently and can be open to outside influence or help. One’s culture does not have as much of an influence on their disease as you may think. Culture can actually hinder the process if doctors consider their background and genes over more important factors. Advancements in medicine are constantly happening around us and applied anthropology deals with this and other factors that the future may hold. Today’s society holds plenty of new technology that can potentially put people in danger of contracting cancer. A medical anthropologist’s goal would be to find the balance between using new advancements to promote cancer-free health and reducing the risks that come along with it.
Nonetheless, anthropology plays a major role in medicine today, especially when dealing with people individually, and will continue to serve as a great tool in the health and well being of our population.