It is hard to detect breast cancer in its early stages. However, while it is hard to detect, it is not impossible. In fact, the fact that it is hard to detect makes it more urgent for us to exert effort to detect the development of cancer in its earlier stages, lest it will be too late for the patient when it is finally discovered. The high mortality rate due to breast cancer makes can be largely attributed to the fact that most breast cancer victims are able to get a diagnosis only after the cancer has grown in to a size that is not easy to cure. To avoid this situation, vigilance is required. There are several methods to detect and screen breast cancer. Some of them are as follows, and some of them I covered in another article.
When you reach the age of 20, you should start performing regular monthly self-examination of the breast. Period for breast examination usually depends on when you have you monthly period. Self-examination is composed of visual examination for irregularity on the breast such as discoloration or change in size and appearance. It will also include physical examination to feel any lump or find any discharge in the breast. It is normal for the age near 20 to have some lumps on the breast so finding one is usually not a cause for panic. As you perform the exam more regularly after some time, you will learn how your breast normally is and will then know what to look for when doing the exam.
Mammography is the most common method of diagnosing breast cancer. It has also been proven to reduce mortality rates due to the disease. It is more preferred and more effective when compared with other imaging methods such as ultrasound, MRI and CT. It is recommended to undergo mammography regularly to be able to detect possible breast cancers while they are still eligible for breast-conservation therapy.
Preventive (Prophylactic) Mastectomy for Women with High Risk
Preventive mastectomy involves removing both breasts before being diagnosed with breast diagnosed. It is usually chosen by women who previously had breast cancer in one breast, strong family history of breast cancer, mutated genes and others. However, while the operation reduces breast cancer, the probability to develop the disease still exists because a small amount of breast tissue remains.
The first two methods enumerated are intended for early detection of any growth of cancer cells allowing the patient, with the help of a doctor, to treat them in the early stage. The third method is more extreme as it is aimed at avoiding breast cancer to develop altogether that is why it is only done by people whose breast cancer risk is very high.