Breast cancer screening will combat killer disease
Updated: 2014-10-22 07:19
By Wang Hongyi(China Daily)
Zhang Chengliang/China Daily
Nationwide program to help early detection and heighten awareness
The free nationwide breast cancer screening campaign launched in China this week will help in early detection of the disease and also raise more awareness, experts said on Tuesday.
Breast cancer is one of the biggest killer diseases in China with over 210,000 new cases reported every year, said a recent report published by the National Cancer Registry Center.
"The symptoms of breast cancer are often overlooked, and in most cases the detection happens rather late. The number of cases has risen due to the low detection rate and poor awareness," said Qiao Youlin, a leading cancer expert and professor of oncology research at the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
"Most of the patients went for treatment only after they developed symptoms. In this regard, it is important for the nation, medical institutes and the entire society to work together for early prevention and treatment of breast cancer," Qiao said at the free breast cancer health checkup in Huaxi Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province.
The free screening campaign, initiated by GE Healthcare, will also be held in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
With the number of breast cancer cases rising, health departments across the country are charting more steps to raise awareness and provide more effective early prevention and treatment.
In Guangdong province, a three-stage program is being undertaken on a pilot basis to detect and prevent breast cancer. The program aims to establish a breast cancer prevention and treatment system covering women from both urban and rural areas. It also plans to develop solutions to prevent the further incidence of the disease, based on the findings.
Initial findings from the program have shown that detection rates of both breast cancer and early cancer, two main clinical indicators, have risen significantly over the last few years in Guangdong and were higher than the national level during the same period.
According to a global survey from GE Healthcare released in October, or the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 50 percent of the women in the world cannot recognize the most common symptoms of breast cancer.
The Value of Knowing global survey of 10,000 adults across 10 countries including China aims to explore perspectives on breast cancer with an emphasis on understanding and raising the awareness around dense breast tissue and the most common symptoms of breast cancer.
The survey highlighted a significant lack of awareness about the risks associated with having dense breast tissue, an important risk factor for breast cancer and found in about 40 percent of the women.
Women with dense breast tissue have four to five times higher risk of developing breast cancer, yet only one out of five people globally has seen, heard or read about dense breast tissue in the last six months, the report said.
About 71 percent of the respondents could recognize a lump in the breast as a symptom of breast cancer. But less than half of those surveyed were able to identify other common symptoms like discharge from the breasts or changes to the breasts or nipples such as skin dimpling and rashes, according to the report.
More than half of those surveyed correctly understand that dense breast tissue can be identified through a routine mammogram. That is to say, a good majority still believe that dense breast tissue can be identified through regular personal checks for lumps and irregularities, the report said.
Susan Brown, managing director of Health and Science Education for Susan G. Komen, the world's largest breast cancer organization. said: "If a woman learns that she has dense breasts, it is important for her to talk with her healthcare provider about her risk and options for further imaging or management."
In addition to providing free breast cancer screening and promoting public awareness of breast cancer prevention, treatment and care, GE Healthcare is also taking steps to promote academic research and discussion in China and the world by working with the medical industry and partners to research the screening and treatment of breast cancer, said Duan Xiaoying, CEO of GE China.
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