Senin, 08 Oktober 2007

Breast Cancer Around the World

The cover story in this week’s issue of Time magazine (Oct. 15) is about the worldwide incidence of breast cancer. The article discusses how the economic situation in different countries affects the likelihood of screening for breast cancer and the probability that the cancer will be adequately treated once it is detected. The reasons for a failure to detect and treat breast cancers are different in different countries, but they include a shortage of doctors, diagnostic equipment, and x-ray film; the high cost of treatment relative to income; and the inability to reach a medical facility because of the lack of transportation.

Aside from the usual genetic influences, students might be interested to learn that cultural differences also influence the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The article points out that in some countries, women are afraid to admit to having breast cancer out of fear that their husbands will leave them or that their daughters will be shunned by prospective marriage partners. Diet, too, has a significant effect, for reasons pointed out in the article. And finally, there is just plain ignorance about the disease – in one instance, a woman who had an obviously-visible tumor admitted that she had not been diagnosed earlier because it didn’t hurt. Clearly, the fight against breast cancer will need to be fought differently from country to country.

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