Mammography is underestimated by Brazilians, says survey
Most women are unaware of the importance of the most effective way to diagnose breast cancer.
Mammography is considered the most important tool to identify benign lesions, nodules, and especially breast cancer. The exam is able to detect tumors smaller than one centimeter, helping in the early diagnosis of the disease.
However, according to a survey carried out by Ipec (Intelligence in Research and Consulting), at the request of Pfizer, many Brazilian women underestimate the effectiveness of mammography.
The data revealed that the self-examination, also called the touch examination, is considered by the interviewees to be the main way to diagnose breast cancer in its initial stage.
See too: 9 types of breast cancer
Despite being indicated for self-knowledge of one’s own body, the Brazilian Society of Mastology (SBM) states that the technique should not replace medical examinations, since many lesions may not be palpable.
The study was carried out with 1,397 women from São Paulo (capital) and from the metropolitan regions of Belém, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and the Federal District, aged 20 years or older.
The result showed that 64% of respondents believe that self-examination is the main means for early detection of cancer. Already 54% are not clear about the need to perform a mammogram if other tests, such as breast ultrasound, do not indicate changes.
In addition, 38% believe that a mammogram should only be performed if there are suspicious findings in other medical tests.
Importance of mammography
Despite having breast cancer screening as its main indication, mammography can also be indicated for the evaluation of any clinical complaint or any alteration found in other imaging tests.
In general, the exam is recommended annually for women over 40, even if there is no suspicion of cancer. Thus, mammography is applied as a form of prevention, helping to identify the disease even in its beginning.
See too: Mammography results with cancer: how to identify?
“When palpating and finding nothing, the woman may believe that the breasts are healthy and fail to perform routine assessments that would detect a possible tumor early. When the disease is diagnosed at an early stage, it is easier to treat, which improves the prognosis and contributes to the reduction of mortality”, explained the medical director of Pfizer Brazil, Adriana Ribeiro, during the release of the study.
Breast cancer can affect everyone
Also according to the data revealed by the survey, 82% of women believe that heredity, that is, cases of breast cancer in the family, is the main reason for the development of the disease.
However, medical data indicate that family conditions correspond to only 5% to 10% of diagnoses of the disease. Sedentary lifestyle, overweight, alcoholism and smoking are considered major risk factors for cancer.
“We are talking about a multifactorial disease, in which life habits and even social behaviors, such as the reduction in the number of children, are considered risk factors”, Adriana pointed out.
In this way, behavioral changes and medical follow-up, with annual exams, are the most suitable ways to prevent and diagnose breast cancer.
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