Epidemiological studies have often proved that breast cancer instances are predominant amongst Caucasian women (read American white women).
The occurrence of breast cancer in terms of race is less than 20 percent amongst Asian women and approximately 18.7 percent amongst ethnic Chinese womenfolk. Despite this heartening fact, the cause for alarm amongst the younger generation of Chinese women is that the greater incidence age is reaching lower thresholds.
While most Caucasian women are known to show incidence of malignancy in the breast most commonly during the early to late 50s, a recent trend has shown that Chinese women in the 40s age group are showing greater rate of incidence.
Cancer studies in the last few years indicate that this trend is consistent and is likely increase in the years to follow. A survey was done by the Cancer Foundation of China on an average sample group of 4,200 patients in mainland China in the decade between 1999 and 2008. The study found that out of the 4,200 women patients nearly 40 percent of those who showed signs of breast cancer belonged to the age group of 40 years to 49 years. This revealed that the average cancer-positive patient in China was a decade younger than Caucasian women who too suffered from cancer.
This increase, when focusing on the given age group of 40 to 49 years, shows that the onset of cancerous cells or malignancy increases just before menopause. Researchers are now exploring the frontiers of oncology to identify if there exists a relation between the factors of menopause or if it may be due to socio-economic reasons and perhaps largely a result of the pressures of life styles.
Perhaps the most significant part of the study is that the increase in cancer incidence was almost entirely in the metro regions. The rural areas showed no alarming changes in the rate of breast cancer occurrence. However, there may have been technical limitations of the sample of people studied, which could have had a significant influence on the results.
Another significant point that the survey highlighted was that there was an unprecedented increase in the cancer mortality rate in China, whereas the West has been witnessing a decline in the mortality rate ever since the 1990s.
Experts attribute their advanced expertise to their greater skills at early detection of cancer onset. Western countries had been able to approach near-perfection of cancer detection tests as early as the 1960s. The study/survey and its results only scratch the surface of the spread of tumours, however. The key for Chinese women and the local medical community is to find the right tests and detection processes that will offer infected women to opt for corrective therapy and arrest the spread.
China currently has one of the highest rates of breast removal to combat the spread and malignancy of cancerous growth. There are negligible instances of Chinese women opting to for breast-saving therapy as compared to Caucasian women who prefer to save the breast as a part of the therapy itself.
Developed countries have opted for breast-saving as well as radical operation options for several years now. Fifty percent of US patients opt for retaining the breast, while the percentage could reach as high as eighty percent amongst Singaporean women.
Most Chinese women chose the breastlosing option over the breast saving-option, predominantly because they are unable to afford and plan for chemotherapy postbreast-saving therapy.
The main reason that traditional breast removal surgeries came into precedence was in the belief that the lymph nodes that become malignant and cause the cancer, if removed entirely, would ensure that the chances of recurrence of malignancy were nullified.
However, recent studies have proven that sentinel node biopsy, or the removal of the main growth along with a few tertiaries, has almost the same growth development when observed over five-year periods. Patients with removal of the entire lymph node fared the same as those who had only their sentinel node biopsy and opted for the breast saving therapy.
This disappointing increase in the number of patients has led the medical fraternity to adopt various methods to reveal these alarming percentages to unsuspecting women across the Chinese mainland.
The higher increase in this area, especially in metropolis communities like Shanghai, shows that there is a story behind the unprecedented increase. In fact, a 400 percent increase in less than three decades in women who suffer from breast cancer shows that this disease is today incident in close to seventy of every hundred thousand females.
The instance of one in every one thousand coastal Chinese woman with breast cancer translates to a growth rate of four percent, with the mortality rate stabilising at 6.9 percent.
These statistics have brought about greater awareness among the common Chinese population today, and the areas around towns are being inundated with information as well as better review. Cancer detection camps are on the increase, as one of the universal rules for cancer is that early detection will help in controlling the degree of spread of malignancy.
Governmental health policies are being tweaked to address the proliferation of breast cancer in the younger generation of women. However, social and medical experts opine that the substantial increase is due to the adoption of more stressful life styles. The road to achieving successful corporate life in the metros of China is having an undeniable impact on the overall health of Chinese women.
Now that studies and surveys have revealed the steady growth of cancer amongst the Chinese female population, it is of paramount importance that advance screening of women around the age group of 35 years is done on a regular basis. These tests should preferably be held every six months, as Chinese women are prone to incidence in the age group of forty to fifty years and even in the pre-menopause stage.
Early detection and diagnosis will contribute to lowering the rate of breast removal and instead nurture breast conservation methods. It will also increase the efficiency of cost-saving treatment in bringing regular physical examination to improve Chinese women’s cancer survival rates.
However, there are greater alarming statistics, in that only forty percent of the nearly one and a half million Chinese breast cancer patients even opt for physical examination.
The straight path to prevention of breast cancer is to first of all move away from the vicious cycle of stressed careers, high-calorie food intake, fatty food dietary content and sedentary lifestyles. These only contribute to building malignancy of cells, and when there is no early detection, the tumour would have already spread beyond a range where it is impossible to contain further spread, despite non-saving surgeries.
Traditional Chinese food items such as soya, green tea and several similar indigenous foods are considered to contain the right receptors that will inhibit the growth of cancerous cells from within the body itself.
In addition to a healthy, nutritional balanced diet an excellent exercise regime such as brisk walking is known to overcome several lifestyle diseases ranging from hypertension to the rich man’s bane of diabetes and of course the cursed cancer.
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