Breast cancer is one of the more common types of cancer. It can affect men and women of all ages, but it tends to be most prevalent in women who are 30 to 50 years of age. Given the way that this cancer develops, there are numerous methods of treatment available. These treatments can improve the quality of life of a patient, decrease the amount of affected tissue, and prevent the recurrence of breast cancer.
While these treatments tend to be different, one thing remains the same: early detection provides better results.
Understanding Breast Cancer
Breast cancer, much like other types of cancer, begins with just a few rogue cells. These cells are damaged in such a way that their functions are impaired, but they continue to multiply and grow. While these cells are relatively few in number, they are difficult to detect. The body may remove some of these rogue cells.
It’s when these cancer cells begin to multiply faster than the body can attack them that a patient becomes diagnosed with breast cancer.
Early Detection Matters
The good news is that the rate of growth with breast cancer makes it so it grows relatively slowly. When these cells are relatively low in number, treatment options such as chemotherapy and radiation can often destroy them with minimal lasting damage to the breast.
These treatments, which tend to be harder on the body given their side effects, often come in smaller doses when breast cancer is caught at earlier stages. These two factors make it possible to more effectively fight cancer while decreasing the severity of side effects that the patient will feel.
Another major advantage of early detection is the number of options available to the patient. Early detection may mean that removing the lump itself, a procedure known as a lumpectomy, may be viable. This can save the patient from a potential mastectomy, which is a procedure where the entire breast is removed.
Another advantage of early detection is that a lump does not necessarily make for cancer. It may be present in a pre-cancerous form, which means that removal of the lump could mean avoiding a much more difficult treatment.
Saving Thousands of Lives
Breast exams are relatively simple and routine procedures that can be performed by a physician or other licensed medical practitioner. These simple breast exams are accredited with saving the lives of thousands each year.
The problem with early detection is that many patients are scared of it. They reason that it would be best not to know about their cancer for different reasons, but what they fail to realize is that this can significantly limit their options for treatment. Delaying detection means that cancer has a larger opportunity to spread. Breast cancer may develop and spread throughout the body, which significantly increases the rate of mortality even amongst patients who are treated for this disease.
The best option for patients is to get regular breast exams. These can allow doctors to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, which in turn significantly increases the chances of success with any given treatment.
We at South Lake OB/GYN will be able to answer any questions or concerns you might have about the steps you can take for early detection. We also provide tips on various other forms of preventative medicine that might be important for your health. Contact us to schedule a consultation with our highly trained staff today.