Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Canadian women, but early screening for breast cancer can produce a better outcome.
Weighing the risks and benefits
Screening mammography is the process of checking healthy women to make sure that they don’t have signs of breast disease and for those who do, it could mean the difference between longer or shorter life.
The main benefit of early screening is the potential for early detection of breast cancer at a stage, which is more easily treated. Dr. Shiela Appavoo, Chair, Canadian Association of Radiologists Practice Guidelines for Breast Imaging confirms, “early detection is associated with better chances for survival.”
The risk of radiation is small and is outweighed by the benefit of finding cancer early and increasing your life span. Other risks include being called back for additional imaging and a small number of people may have a biopsy, which is a minimally invasive procedure where most women do not require sedation nor are they left with a scar. A very small minority of women, however, do get open biopsies, depending on the type of lesion or results from their first biopsy. Keep reading.