If you have been having double thoughts about wearing a sari the next time you have a family function, fret not, doctors say youngsters, who wear the garment only occasionally, are not at risk
Following reports of sari cancer, many Indian women, who have been draping the six-yard wonder for decades, panicked. According to an article in the journal of the Indian Medical Association, tying a sari can cause waist or sari cancer, as a few cases were reported in a Mumbai hospital. But experts say that this is not very common and it doesn’t affect those who wear it occasionally. “Most of the research studies come from the US or Europe, but this fact was found in one of the Indian studies as sari is not a very popular garment in the West. But again, there is a particular time span, during which one can get affected by this type of cancer. In the study, women over 40 years, who have been draping the sari for decades, are most susceptible to it. So, it is a concern for those who are tying it for years as compared to youngsters,” says Dr Anshuman Kumar, a senior cancer surgeon.
Senior consultant in oncology, Dr K Medhi, seconds Kumar and says, “One can’t give up on wearing a sari, but the idea of this research is to spread awareness about tying the knot at the same spot. Youngsters may not wear the sari everyday, but their responsibility would be to make all the elderly women in their families familiar about this research. Awareness is the biggest way to counter this.”
HOW IT HAPPENS?
The culprit in this case is not a sari, but the petticoat knot. What usually happens is that women tend to wear the knot almost at the same spot regularly and this in turn leads to chronic irritation and friction. This is usually known as keratosis. Like when you are wearing a tight shoe, your toe or thumb may develop a black patch, this is a sign of chronic irritation. And if not taken care of, it leads to constant itching and even ulcers, the non-healing ulcer can later result in cancer.
SARI VS UNDERGARMENTS
One question that immediately pops up after reading this study is why lingerie or tight undergarments don’t fall in the bracket of this research. Kumar offers an explanation, “A petticoat knot or nada usually has a width of one-and-a-half cm and that knot tends to continuously put pressure on a particular point for long hours. Whereas in the case of undergarments, they have elastic bands and their width is usually broader, hence the pressure is equally distributed and while doing any activity or are even breathing, the elastic prevents constant friction,” he says.
The process usually involves a surgery and re-construction by plastic surgery and can cost anything between 90,000 - 1,00,000.
HOW TO PREVENT SARI CANCER
“It is a slow growing cancer, so if you are experiencing itching or redness around the knot area, immediately consult a doctor,” says Dr Medhi. As sari is very popular in India, Medhi says taking a few precautions is enough to keep the cancer at bay. “Try and change the level of knot at the waistline, also change the position of the knot, and try other lateral sides as well. It might be uncomfortable to get used to the new position but sometimes you have to be in uncomfortable shoes to lead a healthy lifestyle,” he says.