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VietNamNews

Breast cancer diagnoses often come too late to help patients

Update: October, 01/2014 - 09:13
Latest statistics from the Ministry of Health showed that about 15,000 new breast cancer cases are diagnosed annually in the country.— Photo vietnamnet

HA NOI (VNS) — As much as 70 per cent of breast cancer patients are diagnosed when they are already in the final stages of the disease, said Deputy Minister of Health, Nguyen Thi Xuyen at a recent breast cancer prevention event in Ha Noi.

The event was organised by the Supportive Fund for Cancer Patients-Bright Future Fund, an establishment under the Ministry of Health. The 5,000 person gathering aimed to raise public awareness about breast cancer, the number one form of cancer afflicting women in Viet Nam.

Latest statistics from the Ministry of Health showed that about 15,000 new breast cancer cases are diagnosed annually in the country.

"Patients diagnosed with breast cancer often came to the hospital late, and that made the treatment result less effective," said Xuyen.

Breast cancer is highly treatable if detected early. In developed countries, about 80 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive due largely to early detection.

"If patients get treated at late stages, stage 3 and 4, the survival rate ranges from 40 per cent to less than 10 per cent," said Le Hong Quang, Vice Head of the Breast Surgery Department at the Viet Nam National Cancer Hospital.

Quang said that there are three principal reasons for the high rate of late diagnoses, one of them being lack of self-examination and detection.

Financial difficulty was another cause, as poor patients feared that going to a hospital would be too costly. Only once they could not stand the pain anymore, in the later stages of the disease, did they go to see a doctor.

Lastly, lack of proper knowledge about cancers in general also worsens the situation. "Some women tend to give up and hide their sickness because they think that cancers are incurable," said Quang.

Breast cancer is the fifth most fatal cancer in the world, each year claiming about 521,000 lives. — VNS

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