The rational for early detection is straightforward. Small cancers in general have a better prognosis than larger cancers and require less aggressive therapy. Every woman after puberty should engage in early detection efforts.
Young women should become
familiar with the pattern and texture of their breast tissue. Menstruating women should do monthly breast examination a few days after completing their menstrual period. The time to start the process of monthly self exam is the same day that a medical provider
has done a careful exam and concluded that the exam was normal.
The patient can then examine herself with the confidence in knowing the pattern or texture that she feels on exam is normal. Once a woman is confident of her normal breasts and does the exam
at regular intervals, she is better prepared to detect a subtle change before the physician can feel it.
If she does detect a focal change in her breast it should be reported to an experienced physician for evaluation.
The future is looking bright in terms of strategies
to improve the early diagnosis of breast cancer as well as to treat it more effectively. New imaging technologies are on the horizon to detect cancer early.
New treatment strategies are being implement that improve the effectiveness of treatment
and have fewer side effects. Now, however, is not the time to be complacent.
To maximize the progress that is being made in the medical care of breast cancer, women must do their part in terms of committing to early detection efforts. Significant reductions
in mortality and costs of care could be achieved if women were to consistently follow early detection guidelines.
The goal of Be Aware & Stay Safe ~ is that ensure that if breast cancer is in a women’s future that she does everything in her power to detect it
early so that she has the maximum chance for survival.