Screening for breast cancer means looking for signs of breast cancer in all women, even if they have no symptoms. This screening method plays an important role in the mitigation of the morbidity/ mortality rates. Early-stage cancers are easier to treat than later-stage cancers, and the chance of survival is higher. Screening for breast cancer is done by mammography with the main objective of advance the time of diagnosis to improve prognosis through the implementation of early interventions. The first importance is that it helps develop early detection strategies. This is momentous in minimizing the treatment and recovery time. On top of this, early detection accentuates the patient’s survival chances (Health resources & services administration, 2019). The second importance is that it improves patient knowledge about their health. The mammography and additional examination advise women to take up the necessary course of action, which will protect them from getting breast cancer.
The limitations, however, outweigh the benefit, with the first being that a lack of understanding leads to increased waiting and anxiety whenever additional examinations are needed. At least half of the women who take part in the screening process require an additional examination (Loberg, 2015). The exams raise depression, and anxiety. The second major limitation is possible overdiagnosis. This means finding something on a mammogram that is breast cancer or has a chance of becoming breast cancer, but is such a low-risk type of tumor that it would never have caused any health problems if left alone. Instead, because it was found on mammogram, cancer treatment is recommended. These unnecessary treatments are costly and patients can suffer physical and psychological side effects (Loberg, 2015).
Health resources & services administration (2019). Women’s preventive services guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.hrsa.gov/womens-guidelines-2016/index.html
Loberg, Magnus (2015). Benefits and harms of mammography screening. Breast cancer research; 17(1): 63.