Mejorando la atención para el cáncer de mama paso a paso

El cáncer de mama, la enfermedad mortal más común en Occidente, es ahora más curable que nunca, pero sigue siendo una de las causas más frecuentes de muerte asociada al cáncer. Los costos de esta enfermedad son altos; también lo son los del tratamiento, ya que no existen “curas mágicas”. No obstante, la tasa de mortalidad por cáncer de mama está cayendo en la mayoría de los países occidentales, aunque el número de casos se mantiene más o menos estable. Sin duda, esto refleja una mejoría en el cuidado de la enfermedad.

Puesto que los avances en contra del cáncer de mama son graduales –es decir, no hay un tratamiento que de inmediato se considere dramáticamente superior—hay grandes disparidades en la forma en que se aplican los tratamientos en distintos países. Por más que la ciencia pueda señalar cuál es la mejor forma de combatir el cáncer de mama, la aplicación desigual de los nuevos tratamientos puede generar que muchas mujeres sufran o, incluso, mueran innecesariamente.

Aunque todavía no se conocen las causas del cáncer de mama, la detección temprana, antes de que las células cancerosas se extiendan, es crucial. Ciertos estudios aleatorios de hace varias décadas demostraron que la mamografía, aunada a exámenes físicos frecuentes, aumenta las posibilidades de detección temprana, reduciendo el riesgo de muerte. Recientemente se han hecho estudios que se centran en la edad ideal para hacer los primeros exámenes y en la frecuencia con la que se deben practicar. Es probable que pronto surjan debates sobre la mejor tecnología: mamografía convencional, mamografía digital, ultrasonido, resonancia magnética o una combinación de tecnologías.

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