Monday, October 8, 2012

Breast Cancer Screening Saves Lives

There has been a lot of debate in the last few years on the benefits, risks and limitations associated with routine breast exams. Some of the reports out today are confusing for women who are undergoing regular screenings.
The NHS's National Cancer Director in the UK has issued a review that reveals good news for women. Despite the reports of over diagnosis, the report shows that routine breast screening does save around 1,300 lives a year in the UK alone.
This significant number is because a diagnostic mammogram detects cancer at an early stage before other signs and symptoms are noticed. The sooner cancer is detected, the more effective and successful treatment will be.
The review has reported that some women who have cancer detected will be over-diagnosed. This is due to cancers that are detected but will not cause harm to that woman in her lifetime. Critics argue that such women will undergo treatment that is not necessary.
It is important to note that there is no way to know which cancers will grow and become deadly and which won't. Therefore, all women will be offered treatment. Statistics show that some women are over-diagnosed but not which individual it will happen to. Some women will have their lives saved. For others, early detection will allow them to avoid more aggressive and invasive treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation.
It is also important to note that over diagnosis must not be confused with misdiagnosis.
Misdiagnosis is when someone is told they suffer from a disease that they in fact do not. Over-diagnosis in regards to breast cancer is when women are correctly diagnosed, but it is believed that the cancer will not progress if left untreated.
It is important that women understand the risks and benefits associated with routine breast imaging so they are able to make an educated choice about attending their appointments. Women should discuss all concerns with their doctors and local screening service.
Although breast affects older women at higher rates, it is important that younger women who do not receive a routine mammogram to be breast aware. This means knowing what their breasts look and feel like normally, looking out for any unusual changes and having them checked regularly by a doctor. It is important that women understand what the results mean for them and that they have access to clear and unfiltered information regarding the pros and cons of breast screening.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there and thanks for this interesting and important post.I really enjoy your post Really its amazing.

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