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Rise in breast cancer leading to more ovarian cancer: Experts

“If one has breast cancer, there are 30-35 per cent chances of also having ovarian cancer. And if the person has ovarian cancer, there are 10-15 per cent chances of getting diagnosed with breast cancer,”

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New Delhi, Dec 22 : Breast cancer, the leading cause of mortality among women in India, is being seen as an augmenting factor in the rise in ovarian cancer cases as well, according to medical experts.

Dr M.D. Ray, surgical oncologist at AIIMS, Delhi, says women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer remain at a higher risk of contracting ovarian cancer due to the presence of same gene that triggers both cancers.

“Genes are responsible for cancer. Owing to the rise in the incidence of breast cancer, we have observed that there is a considerable increase in cases of ovarian cancer as well in the past few years. Even at AIIMS there have been many cases where a female patient has been diagnosed with both,” Dr Ray told IANS.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce tumour suppressor proteins. However, when either of these genes is mutated — meaning it doesn’t function correctly — the damage to the DNA may not be repaired properly. As a result, cells are more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that can lead to cancer.

“There are two types of genes — BRCA1 and BRCA2 — which are responsible for both breast and ovarian cancer. Dysfunction of these two genes increases the chances of getting diagnosed with both the cancers. An individual with breast cancer, therefore, remains at risk of facing ovarian cancer and vice versa,” Dr Ray noted.

“If one has breast cancer, there are 30-35 per cent chances of also having ovarian cancer. And if the person has ovarian cancer, there are 10-15 per cent chances of getting diagnosed with breast cancer,” Dr Mala Srivastava, oncologist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, noted.

Specific inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 most notably increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, but they have also been associated with increased risks of several additional types of the disease like fallopian tube cancer, peritoneal cancer, colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Women who have inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 tend to develop breast and ovarian cancers at younger ages than those without these mutations.

Although presumed to be more common among women above 50, Dr Ray noted that both breast and ovarian cancer cases are increasing among women below 35 as well.

“This is owing to poor lifestyle habits. And this is not confined to any particular economic class. A sedentary lifestyle further escalates it,” he added.

Since both cancers are related to genetics, medical experts suggested that women should start screening and gene-testing at an early age.

“For, say, if one or two family members had breast or ovarian cancer then all the women in that family should be tested for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. Secondly, the screening for both breast and ovarian cancer should start early in life. Suppose a woman’s mother had breast cancer at the age of 45, then she should start mammography at the age of 35,” Dr Srivastava pointed out.

In India, however, gene tests are still costly which is why many women fail to get diagnosed in time. Dr Srivastava said that a gene test would cost around Rs 25,000 to Rs 26,000.

“In India, almost 90 per cent patients come to a doctor when in an advanced stage because they don’t get detected at an early stage. The main reason is that the symptoms of ovarian cancers are very vague. Despite all types of high-tech surgeries, the survival rate is less than 30 per cent,” Dr Ray added.

The doctors claimed that if detected early, both cancers are curable.

“Now-a-days, treatment is very good. If a woman diagnosed with breast cancer is detected and treated at an early stage, there are less chances of her having ovarian cancer,” Dr Srivastava explained.

According to a latest ICMR-Lancet report, breast cancer is the leading cancer among Indian women. States like Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Haryana were found to have the majority of cases.

The report also stated that ovarian cancer has the sixth-highest incidence rate with the majority in states like Kerala, Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh and Punjab.

(Somrita Ghosh can be contacted at [email protected])

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Comment: What should India do in response to the US-China Rift?

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US President Donald Trump issued two executive orders on Thursday restricting Chinese social media networks TikTok and WeChat, on the grounds that they pose significant national security threats to the United States. These executive actions set a 45-day deadline to ByteDance, which owns TikTok, and Tencent, owner of WeChat, to sell the two platforms to American companies, or face a complete ban in the US.

ByteDance has already been in talks with Microsoft to sell the US operations of TikTok, an enormously popular video-sharing platform. Now by issuing the executive order, Trump has virtually ensured the certainty of that sale. WeChat, which is mainly used by the Chinese diaspora to communicate with their family members and friends in the mainland and make mobile payments, now faces a more uncertain future in the US.

Trump’s crackdown on TikTok and WeChat, and by extension, Chinese technology and business interests, opens up another front in the President’s on-going confrontation with China, which started with a trade war involving farming, dairy products and other American goods. More recently, the Trump administration has taken actions to restrict Huawei access in the US and the use of government funds to purchase Huawei products and services.

Does this latest phase in the Sino-American confrontation, which began on June 21 with the US ordering the closure of the Chinese consulate general in Houston, and China, in retaliation, closing the US consulate in Chengdu, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, benefit or provide an opportunity for India?

Several analysts in both Washington and New Delhi have observed that it does. It is easy to see the logic behind that argument. In restricting TikTok and WeChat, the US has merely followed India’s footsteps in banning these two and 57 Chinese apps in late June, in response to encroachments by People’s Liberation Army soldiers into Indian territory.

From a geopolitical standpoint, there is no doubt that the current US-China conflict has come at an opportune time for India, which has been engaged in multiple standoffs with China along the border in Ladakh since the beginning of this summer. It once again reinforces the convergence of security interests of India and the US on the China front.

There may be a temptation because of this to escalate the tension with China and in attempt to get concessions in Ladakh. Many armchair warriors have urged Prime Minister Modi to ally with the US and force China to the back foot, to use a cricketing term. Even though New Delhi and Washington have become closer strategic partners, especially in the past two decades, India has never openly aligned with the US on China, despite US pressure to do so.

The historic US-India civil nuclear deal, signed in 2008, was widely seen in Washington as a move to empower India as a bulwark against China. But, much to the frustration of the anti-China hawks in Washington, India has never been comfortable playing that role. This hesitancy continues till today. Notwithstanding calls by many in India and the US to do so, New Delhi has not rushed into Washington’s arms in the wake of the Galwan attack. This appears to be a quite prudent decision.

In any scenario, it is highly unlikely that the US will engage in a full-scale cold war similar to the one it waged with the erstwhile Soviet Union for much of the last half of the 20th century. China doesn’t pose any physical threat to the US, or its European allies, unlike the Soviet Union back then. Economically, the US and China are more integrated than perhaps any two large sovereign nations ever have. Besides being the source of many American goods, China also holds more than $1 trillion worth of US securities.

There is every possibility for a reset in Sino-US relations if Trump loses to Democrat Joe Biden in November. Even if Trump is re-elected, it is unlikely that he will pursue an all-out economic war with China during his second term.

Knowledgeable observers suggest that the immediate provocation for Trump’s TikTok and WeChat restrictions are not geopolitical, but domestic politics. With Covid-19 continuing to ravage the American heartland and the much anticipated US economic recovery not materializing, the President’s re-election prospects have dimmed considerably.

Having spent considerable efforts on boosting the stock market throughout his term, the economy was the primary issue Trump was planning to run on in his re-election bid. But, the impact of Covid-19 has cratered the American economy.

Indeed, the latest job report, released on Friday, revealed that more than 15 million Americans are still unemployed. And, over 30 million are receiving some type of unemployment assistance. These conditions dash any hopes for a meaningful and major economic turnaround before the November election.

In addition, Trump’s failure to develop a national plan and process to contain the spread of Coronavirus has raised serious questions among many voters about his competency. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, nearly three-fifths of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, and less than two-fifths approve.

Trump can never take the blame or assume responsibility for his own poor performance. In his mind, if he loses the presidency it will be solely because of China and its failure to contain the virus from spreading outside its borders. He began calling Covid-19 the “China virus” in an attempt to deflect attention from himself regarding his failed leadership in managing the response to the pandemic. This deflect and diversion tactic is classic Trump. It explains why the President has chosen the path of escalation with Beijing. It is not a deep-seated ideological or policy-based aversion to the Chinese. It is primarily a personal and politically motivated action taken as part of a re-election gambit.

Given this, India should engage in watchful waiting to see what the next move from Washington and Beijing will be and who will be elected President in the US in November. It should then determine how to proceed. And, do so with caution.

(Frank F. Islam is an entrepreneur, civic and thought leader based in Washington DC. The views expressed are personal)

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Nitish govt must demand SC-monitored probe into SSR case: Bihar Congress in-charge

“The Bihar government has made only statements in the case. They are not bothered about the case but are focusing only on politics,” the Congress leader said.

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Shaktisinh Gohil

New Delhi, Aug 14 : After taking a neutral stand on the Sushant Singh Rajput case for sometime, a leader of the Congress party has now asked the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government to demand for a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the Bollywood actor’s case.

Congress Bihar in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil said that instead of making statements in the media the state government should convince the apex court for an investigation monitored by the top court.

Speaking to IANS, Gohil said, “Even the Prime Minister has said many times that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is not an agency and it is not beyond doubt. Hence, the Bihar government should put facts before the top court and demand for a probe monitored by it so that the truth can come forward at earliest.”

The demand comes at a time when there is a strong sense of sympathy for the actor and his family prevails across the country.

“The party has sympathy for the family of the actor but one cannot doubt that the Mumbai Police are the best in terms of the investigation. They caught Ajmal Kasab alive and took the case to a logical conclusion, so raising a finger on the credibility of the Maharashtra Police is not a good thing,” Gohil added.

The Congress is a part of the coalition government in Maharashtra, in which Shiv Sena holds the maximum number of seats i.e. 56 followed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — 54, and the Congress — 44.

On the Sushant death issue, Congress is in a tightrope situation where any contrary step may put the alliance in trouble.

“The Bihar government has made only statements in the case. They are not bothered about the case but are focusing only on politics,” the Congress leader said.

The Bihar government in its written submission to the Supreme Court on Thursday alleged a political pressure by the Maharashtra government in the case.

“It is apparent that it is on account of political pressure in the State of Maharashtra that neither the FIR has been registered by the Mumbai Police nor did they extend any cooperation to the Bihar Police in discharging their obligation to conduct investigation expeditiously,” said the Bihar government in its submissions before the top court.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had reserved the order on the plea of main accused Rhea Chakraborty seeking transfer of the case registered in Patna to Mumbai and asked all the parties in the case to file their written submissions.

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Newsprint paper manufactures voice concerns

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New Delhi, Aug 13 : Indiscriminate import and dumping of newsprint paper is threatening the very survival of the domestic newsprint industry, says the Indian Newsprint Manufacturers Association (INMA), the apex body of newsprint manufacturers in India.

In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, as much as 85 percent of domestic demand for newsprint paper was met by imports while the country has adequate manufacturing capacities to meet the demand both in terms of quality and quantity. In a SOS communication to the Prime Minister, INMA has asked for urgent remedial measures to safeguard the interests of the industry.

“The adverse impact of dumping is so serious that currently no good orders are in place to keep the plants running, resulting in severe financial stress, endangering the continuity of the mill operations and retaining employment,” INMA has said in a statement.

“Domestic newsprint production capacity was 2.6 million tonnes in FY 2014-15 but has come down to 2.2 million tonnes in view of continued challenging environment leading to closure of mills. However domestic capacities are still adequate to meet the domestic demand. There is an urgent need to curb dumping and other unfair trade practices operating in the industry,” states INMA.

Due to imports being cheaper than the domestically manufactured newsprint product, during FY18 and FY19, domestic sales of newsprint stood at 1.2 million tonnes per annum which reduced drastically to 0.7 million tonnes in FY20 in view of dumping.

According to INMA, against the import price of $800 per tonne of newsprint in FY18, the news print is currently being dumped by exporters at $390-400 per tonne which is almost $250-300 per tonne cheaper than their home country sales price. With Covid pandemic leading to demand reduction worldwide, market intelligence points to dumping of newsprint paper at $350 per tonne.

INMA says it is not against legal import by actual users but against unfair trade practice being adopted by the exporters. As an urgent measure, INMA has asked for imposition of a five-year moratorium on newsprint imports, among other asks.

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