Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. There were about two million new cases diagnosed worldwide last year. It means that a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer somewhere in the world every 15 seconds and more than six women die of breast cancer every five minutes worldwide. These shocking figures only serve to underline the fact that many women today will be facing a battle with breast cancer at some point in their lives.
According to the Malaysian National Cancer Registry (MNCR) Report 2011, breast cancer is also known as the most common form of malignancy affecting women. The disease burden of breast cancer affects 31.1 percent of all women living with cancer in this country. The cumulative risk (CumR) was highest among Chinese and lowest among Malay. The percentage of breast cancer cases diagnosed at stage I and II was 57 per cent. At this stage, the disease is usually operable and can be treated with curative intent. However, about 25-45 per cent of patients experience relapse and those with metastatic or unresectable disease are generally incurable.
This stage can be categorized into ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). LCIS is generally believed to be a benign condition associated with increased breast cancer risk, but without potential to progress to invasive cancer. DCIS is a precursor to invasive cancer while not all progresses.
Early detection is very important as it could reduce the mortality rate. When breast cancer is detected early, the size of tumor and its rate of spreading can be controlled meanwhile increase the survival rate and positive outcome.
Screening serves the purpose of testing women in order to identify cancers before any symptoms appear. American Cancer Society recommendations for the early detection of breast cancer vary depending on a woman’s age. Women ages 40 and above should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms.
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