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Every woman knows the term breast cancer and maybe a little more detail also. Since it is a well-known fact that this cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, still how many of us take precautions and goes for mammograms annually? Yes, very few! To make you realize the importance of a mammogram I want to unveil some facts here. Let us see what a mammogram is and why is it so emphasized regarding breast cancer prevention and successful treatment.
What is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is a kind of breast exam which aids in early recognition, detection, and treatment of breast-related diseases. It employs noninvasive X-rays for producing images that can be utilized for detection, and recognition of any abnormal areas in both of the breasts. This can indicate the presence of cancer even at very initial stages and hence treatment can be initiated accordingly.
Risk Factors of Breast Cancer:
Risk factors are the factors that can increase chances for the occurrence of a disease. These are different for different types of cancer. For breast cancer, there are three types of risk factors. These are:
Non-Modifiable Risk Factors
These include factors which cannot be modified such as age, race, genetics, family history, and certain environmental conditions.
Modifiable Risk Factors
These are the lifestyle conditions and personal habits that can be modified. These include breastfeeding frequency and duration, number of children, hormonal therapies after menstruation, alcohol consumption, morbidity, and level of physical activity.
Risk Factors of Breast Cancer for Females in Pakistan:
A study was carried out to identify the risk factors of breast cancer particularly for females in Pakistan. It was found out that:
- Breast cancer was prevalent in females aged between 40-50 years.
- Females with BMI more than 25kg/meter square were at an elevated risk of breast cancer.
- Lack of physical activity and smoking are also among prominent risk factors for breast cancer in Pakistan.
- Avoiding breastfeeding also increases the chances of getting affected by breast cancer.
- Similarly, post-menopausal therapies and use of hormonal therapies had positive linkage with development of breast cancer in Pakistani females.
How important regular screening is for early diagnosis?
Regular screening is so much emphasized for reasons. It is the only way you can ensure early detection of breast cancer. When detected at initial stages the chances of successful treatment and better life expectancy increases. When breast cancer is diagnosed at later stages of the disease it results in a decreased likelihood of patient survival, higher treatment cost, and avoidable disabilities resulting due to cancer. It is advised to get mammography screening annually. This should be more frequent if you have a family history or are at an elevated risk of breast cancer.
Does early diagnosis also help in reducing healthcare expense?
Yes, early diagnosis has a significant impact on reducing the cost of treatment for breast cancer. Many studies have been carried out relating the cost of treatment of this cancer to the stage of the disease. It can be clearly stated that earlier a breast cancer is diagnosed lesser will be the cost of treatment compared to end stages treatment of breast cancer. Therefore, regular screening can be helpful in reducing the total cost of treatment for this cancer.
To sum up, every woman above forty years of age should get screened for breast cancer annually. Women at higher risk should get screened more frequently as prescribed by their physicians. You can get your breast cancer screening (mammography) done from Shifa International Hospital Islamabad at a discounted price. Women should be aware of potential risk factors and know how to avoid and manage these to prevent breast cancer. Regular screening can help in early diagnosis which can save lives, cut the cost of treatment, and lead to better expectancy and quality of life.
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