Breast Cancer: Early Detection is the Best Way to Prevent
A 2019 report mentioned that the Philippines has the highest prevalence of breast cancer in Asia and 9th highest in the world 1. Breast cancer is also the leading type of cancer among women, both in the country and internationally 2. Fortunately, there are numerous treatments available for breast cancer, and the success rates are high especially if breast cancer is detected early. That’s why screening is crucial to overcoming this condition. While there’s no organized national screening programs for breast cancer 3, screening procedures, such as mammogram and breast ultrasound, are very much available. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Why Early Detection Is Important
As mentioned earlier, breast cancer is highly treatable if you spot it early. Unfortunately, most Filipinas learn of their diagnosis in the advanced stages of the disease, when the signs and symptoms are already present and only aggressive and expensive treatment might work.
With screening, early detection is possible. This means you can spot cancer when it’s still easy to treat and you have more options for treatment. Most importantly, treating breast cancer as early as possible can reduce its impact and save lives.
Detect Breast Cancer Early With Mammogram and Breast Ultrasound Tests
Two of the widely used breast cancer screening tests in the Philippines are mammograms and breast Ultrasounds. Let’s talk about their individual advantages:
A mammogram uses low-dose x-ray to produce breast images. This procedure, which uses a machine to “flatten” or squeeze the breast, is noted as the “best screening tool for breast cancer.” In fact, some institutions say mammography is “proven to reduce deaths due to breast cancer by detecting breast cancer early."4
Below are its advantages:
● It can detect small and early tumors. This not only means you can start treatment early, it likewise reduces your risk of needing a mastectomy, thereby preserving the breast.
● Annual mammogram tests have been proven to save lives.
● Finally, a mammography can detect abnormalities that may prompt doctors the need for further testing (like a biopsy).
The American Cancer Society says women ages 45 to 49 years old should have a mammogram done yearly.
Breast ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the breast. Instead of a machine that flattens the breast, an ultrasound uses a probe or a transducer to check different areas.
It has the following advantages:
● It’s the more comfortable test, as no machine will squeeze the breast.
● As it uses a transducer, it can check different areas more closely, especially when doctors want to take a second look somewhere (usually after a mammogram).
● It’s a good screening tool if you feel some changes, but the mammography doesn’t show anything.
According to experts, the rule of thumb is that breast ultrasound is more accurate in women younger than 45 years old.
Early Detection Saves Lives
When it comes to breast cancer screening, your doctor will also consider factors that increase your risk. For instance, having a family history of breast cancer can mean you’re more at risk than others, and your doctor might recommend starting screening at the age of 40 instead of 45.
It is advised that you have your breast checked yearly, especially if you have several risk factors. Consult your doctor regarding the best diagnostic tests and treatment plans for your condition.
Time for your yearly checkup?
Head to Hi-Precision Diagnostics to schedule your mammogram or breast ultrasound.
You may call 8741-7777 for inquiries.