According to the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC for its acronym in Spanish), approximately 26,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year in Spain, which is almost 30% of the tumours in women. Although the risk of suffering breast cancer in a lifetime is approximately 1 in each 8 women, only 46% of Spanish women say that they have a gynaecological check-up, according to the 5th Study of healthy lifestyles and well-being of women conducted by the DKV Healthy Life Institute.
The results of the study, conducted by DKV Seguros in collaboration with the Rey Juan Carlos University, show that there is still a lot to do in terms of raising awareness about prevention and early detection. Currently, although 80% of women consider it advisable to have a gynaecological check-up, less than half of those surveyed actually go. 30% of Spanish women go to the gynaecologist every two years or more, and 24% say that they have never gone for a check up and only go when they think they have have a gynaecological problem.
The most conscientious autonomous community is Madrid, where 54% of women have an annual check-up, and the less is Castilla-León, with 38% of women not having a gynaecological check-up.
The women between 18 and 24 years are the age group least concerned about gynaecological check-ups, where only one in three say that they have an annual check-up and 57% recognise that they never go. On the other hand, women between 35 and 54 years follow medical advice more strictly with 52% having an annual check-up. With respect to the age range considered of the highest risk (between 55 and 65 years), 48% go to the gynaecologist every year and only 15% say that they never go.
Breast cancer is one of the few cancer illnesses that can be diagnosed early, and the chances of a cure are approximately 100% in cases detected in the initial stage. That is why it is so important to raise awareness regarding the need to having regular check-ups during the year, especially women in the highest-risk age range (between the 50 and 65 years). The test most employed is the mammogram, as it detects breast lesions up to two years before they become palpable.
Although breast cancer cannot be prevented, there are risk factors that can be corrected. Carmen Gallardo, Dean of the Health Sciences Faculty at the Rey Juan Carlos University and collaborator in the study, said, "By adopting healthy habits, following a balanced diet, doing exercise regularly and limiting alcohol and tobacco consumption, we will reduce the chances of suffering this and other illnesses.
You can read the executive summary of the study in http://eng.dkvseguros.com/salud/instituto/estudio-mujer