Clinical breast examination (CBE) – Breast cancer screening versus early diagnosis
Early detection of breast cancer significantly improves survival after treatment, permits less aggressive management, and improves the quality of life of the patient. Breast cancer can be detected early by systematic screening of asymptomatic women belonging to a specified target age. However, implementation of screening, which is essentially a mass-scale public health initiative, is complex and expensive, and is feasible only in well-resourced health-care settings.
An alternative strategy for early detection of breast cancer is early diagnosis. By improving the health-seeking behaviour of women through improved community awareness and by ensuring their access to prompt diagnosis, the cancer can be detected at an early stage when treatment is highly effective. Implementation of early diagnosis is less resource-intensive and needs to be prioritized in every health setting.
Implementation of early diagnosis requires: