Breast cancer - unlike lung and liver cancers - is not as scary as people might think. If women take care and check their breasts regularly, the cancer can be detected early, which gives a better chance not only of getting rid of the cancer, but also of preserving the affected breast. Especially women in high-risk groups should have their breasts regularly examined.
Currently, despite the high number of breast cancer patients, the mortality rate is low because most cancers are detected soon - but often not soon enough because most early breast cancers have no symptoms. Primary prevention is also impossible because we still do not know the causes. What we do know is that approximately 10 percent are hereditary; the rest might be from inconclusive hormonal and lifestyle factors.
But without knowing the cause, the important thing is to catch breast cancer early - most deaths are due to late detection. If breast cancer is detected early, the notion of a 100 percent cure would not be farfetched; there would be no need for chemotherapy or other very expensive targeted therapy.
Women who might be less than 40 but have two or more primary relatives with breast cancer should have their genes tests for any abnormalities that lead to the development of breast cancer, and have their breasts checked and screened with breast imaging annually.
The general recommendation is for women to examine their breasts monthly beginning from maturity (17-18 years of age). Regular self-examination will ensure a woman becomes familiar with her own breasts, so she will easily notice any abnormality, even a small change. Cancer usually takes months to develop, sometimes years to grow large enough to be detected. Women who are 35 to 40 years old should have a physician examine their breasts and undergo mammograms and/or ultrasounds yearly.