Breast Cancer Screening is a Saviour for You and Your Loved Ones
Young women must have to be alert as far as breast cancer is concerned. When it comes to the leading cause of cancer-related deaths across the world, breast cancer is on the top. The next, rather appalling, scenario about breast cancer is a recent shift in the breast cancer incidences towards younger women (age between 25 – 40 years) – as nearly about 24 to 27 percent of new breast cancer cases are being detected in this age group. In addition, more than 50% of breast cancers are being detected in the third and fourth stages – owing to which treatment and survival are becoming difficult.
If we see the trend across the world, the majority of breast cancer-related deaths are occurring in young women. Irrespective of all these figures and statistics and irrespective of whether the cause of breast cancer is known or unknown, it is still possible to prevent breast cancer. If you carefully read the following information with an intent to understand, adopt and spread awareness, then you could become a saviour of not only your own life but also of many other lives.
What is Breast Cancer Screening?
Screening is a term used to refer to a systematic process of evaluation of normal or healthy-looking women to know or detect any underlying (hidden) cancer. A gynaecologist or gynaeconcologist can recommend breast cancer screening if she suspects anything abnormal during clinical breast examination – and after evaluating the medical history of the patient. Even if a woman is asymptomatic – cancer can be detected in the early stage – through screening. When the cancer is small it is easy to remove by lumpectomy (removal of the lump). Therefore, screening ensures early-stage detection of breast cancer, conservation of breast and prompt treatment.
But when breast cancer grows and spreads throughout the breast, then the whole breast must have to be removed (mastectomy).
Why women neglect breast cancer screening?
Majority of women in India don’t go for screening. There are two reasons for it: in the early stages breast cancer does not cause any symptoms; symptoms if manifest may go unnoticed in many cases. Many women thus remain unaware of their breast cancer and therefore, don’t seek medical help. Thus, early-stage breast cancer becomes aggressive and reaches to third and fourth stage. Once cancer reaches this stage symptoms manifest and the cancer is detected. Late-stage detection of breast cancer is quite common in India. Owing to which the prognosis and treatment is ineffective and survival rates are poor and mortality is high.
The major lacunae here is either negligence or ignorance: women tend to ignore doing breast self-examination or don’t know how to do breast self-examination. If they don’t do breast self-examination, they don’t go for clinical breast examination and thus miss breast cancer screening altogether.
What is the solution?
Sunshine Woman and Child Care Centre recommends annual breast cancer screening to reduce breast cancer risk. Early detection of breast cancer is possible through screening – which ensures successful treatment. Breast cancers have the highest cure rates if diagnosed in the early stages.
Breast self-examination is a must for women (in this regard they should approach their gynaecologist to know the procedure and frequency). If a woman suspects anything abnormal, they should immediately consult a gynaecologist. She performs clinical breast examination and if she finds anything abnormal during her examination, she may recommend breast cancer screening.
Genetic screening is recommended for some women falling under the high-risk category (women with a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer). In such cases screening starts early because breast cancers occurring in close family relations tend to be aggressive and develop at an early age, but cancer can be predicted and prevented through genetic screening.