For women in Portland and around the country, breast cancer can be a debilitating disease. It can ravage even women who seemed too young and healthy to fall victim to such a disease. For those who are severely affected, it may be an option to seek Social Security disability benefits.
Although there is obviously still a long way to go, advances in cancer research have made it possible for people to live much longer and productive lives with cancer than it was even a few years ago. However, in many cases, survival rates come down to a simple fact: when was the cancer diagnosed? In most cases — and this is true for many kinds of cancer, not just breast cancer — the earlier cancer can be diagnosed, the better the prognosis.
However, this concept seems to be particularly true for breast cancer. Most people know that there is a reliable breast cancer screening test, a mammogram, for women. Those with a family history of breast cancer are usually encouraged to get earlier and more frequent screenings, but many physicians agree that almost all women can benefit from screenings.
This is why people ought to take heed from a new study that examined the link between early breast cancer detection via mammogram and mortality from breast cancer. According to researchers, 23 percent of women diagnosed with cancer who’d had a mammogram at least five years before their diagnosis were likely to have an advanced form of the disease, compared with 20 percent of women who’d had a more recent mammogram. This 3 percent difference represents potentially thousands of lives.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “For Older Women, Missed Mammograms Tied to Worse Breast Cancer Outcomes,” April 7, 2013