WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF EARLY DIAGNOSIS?
It is logical that smaller the cancer detected; better are its chances of a cure. Mammography, by detecting occult or non-palpable cancers has increased cure rates in breast cancers to almost 90 to 95%. By the time a cancer has grown to 1.5 to 2 cms, approximately 25% of such cancers will have spread to local lymph nodes, thereby decreasing the chance of a cure. The other major benefit of diagnosing an early cancer is that the entire breast may not be removed. In suitable cases, breast-conserving surgery can be performed. This is important because loss of a breast has a tremendous psychological impact on women; in many it is synonymous to loss of womanhood.
Mammography is the gold standard and usually other tests are compared to it. However to increase its accuracy, it is necessary to use it in conjunction with detailed clinical examination. Ultrasound of the breast is usually done in conjunction with mammography, particularly when a lump is palpable.