Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, with 12.3% developing breast cancer in their lifetime (1 in 8). It occurs more commonly in white women, but may also occur in African-American women, and also in males.
Early detection is the cornerstone in the management of breast cancer as it facilitates treatment at an earlier stage of the disease and increases the chances for more successful outcome. There are several screening examinations that one can undergo in order to facilitate early detection.
The simplest manner of screening is doing a monthly breast examination. This may be done by the patient herself (breast self examination), or by a physician (clinical breast examination). Your breasts are evaluated and checked for the presence of lumps or masses, and any other changes. Women over the age of 40 years are recommended to get clinical breast examinations annually. You can have this procedure done in Southeast Asia where quality of health care is comparable to the west but up to 75% cheaper in the region.
A more objective and accurate screening test is the mammogram. A mammogram is a radiograph of the breast, and is currently the standard screening examination for breast cancer. Screening mammograms can detect microcalcifications and other signs of small tumors before they can be clearly palpated. International associations advise screening mammography for all patients above the age of 50. Taking mammograms regularly has been proven to decrease the risk of death from breast cancer.
Screening for breast cancer is available in most clinics and hospitals in Southeast Asia that are well equipped with the most advanced medical technologies and which are staffed by some of the best medical professionals in the world. Many have their own breast cancer screening programs that you can take advantage of.