Differences between Breast Cancer Screening and Early Detection

Differences between Breast Cancer Screening and Early Detection

Jakarta, YKPI – Screening and early detection are two terms that are often used in cases of breast cancer. Although both terms are similarly aimed at preventing breast cancer, screening and early detection have significant differences.

Surgical oncologist DR. dr. Sonar SoniPanigoro, SpB.K.Onk MARS MEpid said there are six stages of breast cancer, starting from healthy cells to death. The six stages are healthy cells, abnormal cells, pre-invasive cancer, invasive cancer, cancer spread, and death.

Dr. Sonar explained that screening is an examination carried out before there are any complaints. Through the process of screening, patients may find out breast cancer while it is still in the stage of healthy cells, abnormal cells, or pre-invasive cancer.

In contrary, early detection is an examination carried out after there are complaints, and the size of the cancer is usually more than one centimeter.

“Ideally, it would be very great if we can detect the cancer in healthy cells area. It can predict that a person can become cancerous. This kind of examination is being developed. While the breast ultrasound and mammography can only detect cancer whose size above 1 centimeter,” said dr Sonar.

“What we already have today are USG and mammography, which is only until the stage of invasive cancer. Thus, we have the term of early diagnosis or early detection.”

According to Dr. Sonar, early detection is a type of secondary prevention, while the primary prevention of breast cancer is to avoid risk factors. Among the risk factors for cancer include obesity, lack of exercise, alcohol, use of hormonal drugs, not breast feeding, genetic, and increased age.

Unfortunately, avoiding the risk factors is practically quite difficult. Yet according to Dr. Sonar, it is very effective for preventing breast cancer.

“For example: the genetic factor. If we are able to find this gene, we can prevent nearly 85% of breast cancer. The problem is that the gen called BRCA is not much. There is usually only 5-10 % among women population,” said the former Managing Director of Dharmais Cancer Hospital Jakarta.

Meanwhile, the Chairperson of YKPI, Linda Agum Gumelar emphasized that the efforts to prevent breast cancer are very important because the number of breast cancer cases in Indonesia ranked number 2 after lung cancer.

“About 70% patients come to see doctors after their illness is in advanced stages. As the matter of fact, if it is known earlier and since the beginning, their life expectancy could be higher,” said Linda.

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