Female cancer screening important for early detection, say experts
Most female cancer patients show no symptoms in the early stage, resulting in a delayed diagnosis and treatment, medical experts told a health lecture in Shanghai over the weekend while calling for regular and early screening for ovarian, cervical and breast cancers.
About 70 percent of patients with ovarian cancer are in the terminal stage when they are diagnosed, resulting in a less than 40 percent of five-year survival.
"With the development of medical technology and prevalence of biomarker checks, we suggest all women should undergo regular health checkups and those with high risk should receive targeted screening by imaging and biomarker tests," said Dr Zhang Haiyan from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University.
"Early detection, early diagnosis and early treatment are the key. People with a family history should receive a genetic check, as mutation of BRAC genes can be an effective tool to assist doctor's decision-making."
Cervical cancer is the most prevalent female reproductive cancer in China. Vaccination, screening and checks, as well as early treatment, are important.
"The vaccination doesn't cover all HPV (human papillomavirus) types. So we suggest that women over 21 years old, those with a family history of cervical cancer, who have delivered children and who have multiple sex partners undergo regular checks and biomarker testing, whether they have received the vaccine or not," Zhang noted.
For breast cancer, the most common female cancer can be detected through self check and professional inspection.
"We suggest women over 35 years old, those with a family history of breast cancer and other risk factors undergo ultrasound mammography and biomarker testing. For women suffering breast cancer, the check on HER2, an important biomarker, is the key to judge whether the patients can receive targeted treatment or not," she added.