Prevention and early diagnosis are the only ways to shield a woman from breast cancer, a cancer that, if detected early, can be cured. In this direction, preventive examinations are the “key”, so that every woman has a complete picture of her breast health and knows at any time if something is wrong, rushing immediately to treatment.
In our country, in recent years, about 6,000 new cases of breast cancer are identified annually, of which only 5% have been diagnosed at an early stage, a discouraging element for the levels of prevention and the awareness on women of its importance. In fact, the bell for breast cancer rings every October, a month of awareness of the disease, more and more loudly. The value of prevention is indicated by the fact that two thirds of women with breast cancer worldwide now live more than 20 years, something that has been achieved largely thanks to preventive examinations, in addition to the development of treatment methods.
The stages and prevention tools
Breast cancer prevention involves a number of stages starting at an early age. The first stage is the self-examination, which must enter the life of women from a very early age, since it is especially important to realize the slightest change in their breasts and to prevent the worst. The palpable self-examination should be done once a month.
A second stage in the prevention process is the regular visit to the gynecologist, which should be a frequent habit for women from an early age. Regular clinical examination, knowledge of the history and discussion of any concerns with the doctor contribute to better preparation in the face of an unpleasant situation.
The third and most important stage is the systematic preventive examinations, which are none other than mammography and breast ultrasound, which together contribute greatly to the early diagnosis of breast cancer and are catalytic factors in reducing the risk of death from the disease.
A mammogram should be included in a woman’s life from the age of 40, as long as there is no family history dictating that the test must be started much earlier. From the age of 40 onwards, the mammogram should be done once a year and sometimes more often, a decision that will be made by the doctor, depending on the findings and the condition of the breast. Mammography has no age limit, as tumors are common in older people.
The effectiveness of mammography is maximized by ultrasound, which is why their combination is the best solution for the timely and valid detection of breast cancer. Especially in cases where the woman has a dense breast or has felt a finding, while the mammogram comes out negative, the ultrasound is what will give a clear picture.
Studies and data show that regular breast screening can reduce cancer deaths by a third. Do not leave this “weapon” against breast cancer unused. Use it and stay healthy. On the occasion of October, which has been established as a month of awareness and prevention of breast cancer, be informed and shielded.