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Breast Cancer: Why Early Detection Is Key

Updated on February 6, 2012

 

Breast cancer is the most common of cancers in the world. The cancer affects a high percentage of the world population, and is often easy to diagnose. The percentage of people who have died from this form of cancer have reduced significantly in recent times. Breast cancer may be common in women but more often than not has very devastating effects on the men because of the delay in diagnosis. Whereas more women are acutely aware of their breasts and the areas surrounding them, thereby ensuring that any simple change is easily noted leading to early diagnosis of cancer, men on the other hand rarely if ever are aware of any changes in their breast tissue. Often when men come in for diagnosis it is too late for any form of non aggressive treatment and sometimes in fact too late for any form of treatment. Any form of breast cancer, can be classified with regard to the personality, characteristics and schema of the tumor and behavior of the cancer cells. There are mainly five stages in the classification of cancer, with main emphasis on the cells and character of the surrounding tissue. Once diagnosis is complete, it is easy for the doctors to give information the stage of cancer. Cancer patients are often advised to note that the period between the development stages is not specific but varies from one patient to another, and while one form of treatment may successfully stop the development of cancer cells in one patient, it may fail to do so for another.

 

Early diagnosis of cancer is important for immediate and effective treatment to take place. The earlier, the cancer is diagnosed the more likely that the treatment will end up being successful. Whatever form of treatment the patient and doctor pick, it is important to note that the underlying success comes from the time between development of cancer cells and the diagnosis. This is why high risk patients are especially advised to visit medical organizations frequently for checkups. High risk patients include people in remission, or individuals who are genetically pre-disposed to develop cancerous cells. Even for low risk groups it is important to undergo monthly check ups to ensure that abnormal cells are detected early. Although groups of women are well aware of this information, men are less aware of the risk they face with regard to development of breast cancer cells. Because of the lack of information when it comes to male breast cancer, and the stigmatization of patients by the societal beliefs many men are diagnosed at late stages and hence treatment becomes much more difficult and in some cases impossible. Many of the men loose the battle to cancer only months after their diagnosis. The need to educate men on male breast cancer is becoming more apparent to make early detection possible. Research has not yet developed easier and less invasive measures for treating advanced cancer successfully making early detection paramount and significantly important for successful and effective treatment in the fight against cancer.

 

Early diagnosis ensures low mortality from breast cancer. Many of the patients diagnosed early are able to undergo several forms of treatment which almost always stop the spread of cancer cells successfully. There are chances they even with aggressive treatment the cancer may continue to spread and in some cases cause death. However, with early diagnosis the chances of increased life span are increased significantly. Once the cancer is identified at an early stage, doctors are able to create and provide structural treatment measures that more often than not successful combat the cancer, giving the patient an increased life span as opposed to late diagnosis where doctors only work to reduce the pain and suffering of the patients rather than increasing the life expectancy. Late diagnosis almost always means a delay in treatment and hence a lower life expectancy. In many cases, doctors provide the expected life period to be within less than a year before total organ failure and hence death takes place. This is the main reason why breast cancer mortality percentages are higher in men than women despite the high percentage diagnosis in women. Because of awareness and constant check up, the cancer in caught at a much earlier stage in women than in men. In men, the cancer is often diagnosed at very late stages making treatment difficult and sometimes impossible thereby indicating an imminent loss of life a short period after diagnosis.

Early diagnosis ensures that the patient does not have to undergo invasive and aggressive treatment procedures. The options available to an early diagnosed patient are numerous and include less invasiveness with regard to combating the cancer cells. This means that with early diagnosis most patients are able to save their breasts or part of the breast since complete mastectomies are not necessary. The cancer in the early stages is localized meaning that doctors only need to remove the tumor and not the entire breast as is the case when the cancer advances further. In addition, since chemotherapy and radiation treatments do not need to be so aggressive when breast cancer is diagnosed early, the patient suffers less of the side effects such as minimal loss of hair and infertility. Continued chemotherapy and radiation is almost always a cause of infertility, but with the early diagnosis the patient’s fertility is not always affected and if the same is affected treatment can commence without negative effect on the patient.

Early diagnosis ensures that the patient continues to be productive even in the duration of treatment. The chemotherapy, surgery and radiation procedure are not very aggressive giving the patient time to recover and hence continue with a productive life, going to work and visiting family and friends, and in essence speeding up the healing process because of the emotional well being. Symptoms such as fatigue and nausea are less common when the treatment is not so aggressive; therefore ensuring the patient has enough strength and does not need to give up hobbies, work or favorite past times. In addition, early diagnosis almost always ensures that the patient does not need to be hospitalized for treatment. Patients are only admitted for some few hours for treatment and at their own convenience, and therefore their daily schedule is not affected so much.

Summarily, the success in combating cancer cells is entirely dependent on early diagnosis which can be done through constant self examination and checkups provided in hospitals and medical centers. Each individual whether male or female should ensure they are periodically examined for breast cancer by a professional nurse or doctor.

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