Timely diagnosis continues to be an important tool within the strategy to defeat breast cancer, so it is essential that you know what are the weapons with which you can verify your state of health, particularly in low-income countries, where the disease is widespread. it is diagnosed late in advanced stages and resources are very limited.
October is the Pink month of awareness about Breast Cancer and in #TuSaludIntima once again we join this work highlighting the role of mammography, a type of X-ray that represents one of the main allies for its timely detection.
What is Mammography?
Mammography is considered the best tool doctors have for detecting breast cancer in healthy women, as it has been shown to reduce mortality from the disease. Like any medical test, a mammogram carries risks, such as additional testing and anxiety if the test erroneously shows a possible tumor; this is called a false positive. In 10% to 15% of cases, the mammogram will not show existing cancer, which is called a false negative.
Screening mammography is a specific type of breast imaging that uses low-dose X-rays to detect cancer early (before a woman has symptoms) when it is most treatable.
Digital mammography can better detect breast cancer , particularly in women with dense breasts. There is a newer type of mammography called tomosynthesis or 3D mammography. It can improve the ability to detect small cancers and reduce the need for repeat tests due to false positives. This method is approved by the FDA, although it is still under investigation.
How to prepare for Mammography?
- At the time of the appointment with your gynecologist, inform him or her about any surgery performed previously, the use of hormones, and a family or personal history of breast cancer.
- Always make an appointment for a mammogram when you have your doctor's indication. It is not a study that you should do randomly or on a whim.
- Do not schedule your mammogram appointment the week before your period if your breasts are normally tender during this time.
- The best time to have the screening mammogram is one week after your period.
- Always inform your doctor or X-ray technologist if there is a possibility that you are pregnant.
- Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder, or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. This may interfere with the study.
- Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the technologist performing the exam.
- If you have previous mammograms you can make them available to the radiologist, in case he needs to compare with your current exam.
- Ask when your results will be available and always ask your doctor about it.
When to start performing mammography?
Opinions about whether or not we should get screened for breast cancer are becoming increasingly individual. It is important for each woman to talk with her doctor about how often she should have screening tests, such as mammograms, and which tests are most appropriate.
Here we share the opinions of some of the most recognized organizations:
- The US Preventive Services Task Force . The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women ages 50 to 74 have a mammogram every 2 years. They advise considering mammography in women ages 40 to 49 after discussing the risks and benefits of this test with a doctor.
- The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women age 40 and older have the option of starting annual mammograms; that from the age of 45 they perform it annually and that from the age of 55 they can go on to have a mammogram every 2 years or continue the annual screening exams, if they wish.
- Other groups also provide screening recommendations , including the American College of Gastroenterology and the Breast Imaging Society. Both recommend an annual mammogram starting at age 40.
The controversy over screening mammography relates to the ability of early detection to reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer. Breast cancers found by mammography are usually small. By contrast, aggressive, fast-growing cancers are more often found between screening mammograms. They are also found more often in young women.
For women at increased risk of developing breast cancer , screening tests at an earlier age or more often may be recommended. Some older women may stop getting screened at some point, especially if they have significant health problems, so it's important for all women to talk to their doctors about mammography and decide the best option based on their medical history and life conditions.
The monthly breast self-exam
Finally, although breast self-examination has not been shown to reduce mortality from breast cancer, it is important that women know their breasts well so that they can notice any changes and inform the doctor.
If you want to know the breast self-exam technique, you have to watch the following video tutorial by Dr. Sofía Herrera, @tu_ginecologa, founder of Zenzsual and TuSaludIntima, who explains the step by step on our YouTube channel where we share professional advice that will benefit your female health
Keep in mind that the fastest growing cancers are usually found by breast exams between regular mammograms.
At #TuSaludIntima we always remind you of the importance of ensuring the health of your breasts as an integral part of your well-being, your sexuality and your femininity. It is key to raise awareness about the high mortality rates of breast cancer and joint strategies to deal with it, in the search to increase survival figures, thanks to timely detection and treatment.
If you are a breast cancer patient or know a woman who was diagnosed , our #Zenzsual product line has the #Zenzsual #gelintimo that is very useful to combat vaginal dryness, which comes as a result of routine cancer treatments. And you also have #SexCoaching sessions to talk with a specialist about how to emotionally overcome the situation and lean on the relationship .
Give your health the priority it deserves to ensure healthy aging in the long term. For more information on the entire line of #Zenzsual products and the healthy content that we share, you can visit our website: - TusaludIntima.com .