Breast Cancer: The Schedule of Preventive Screenings

Breast Cancer: The Schedule of Preventive Screenings.

When it comes to cancers, never let your guard down. Prevention is important and effective, especially if the one done “at home”, or adopting a correct lifestyle, is joined by that by the doctor and with the screening tests for prevention.

With the breast examination, together with ultrasound, mammography, the identification of the genetic factors responsible for 5-7% of breast cancers, it is also possible to intercept those tumors that do not manifest themselves with a palpable lump, thus increasing the chances of healing. We talk about it with Dr. Sara Galli, breast radiologist of Humanitas San Pio X.

  • 30 years: first breast examination with ultrasound
  • from 30 to 40 years(every year): breast examination with ultrasound
  • from 40 to 50 years(every year): breast examination, ultrasound and mammography
  • 50 to 60 years(every two years): mammogram

Breast cancer prevention also includes self-examination and a correct lifestyle

What does the breast examination consist of?

The breast examination is divided into two parts: the medical interview focused on personal and family medical history (anamnesis) and on the detection of individual risk, and then the actual examination with the palpation of the woman’s breast and armpit and observation of any anomalies.

Are ultrasound and mammography tests necessary?

Yes, they are the exams that allow you to study and evaluate the breast.

Depending on the age of the woman, the density of the breast also varies, and for this reason the prevention path changes with age, but it can also be customized by the specialist, based on the risk factors present, between ultrasound and mammography or tomosynthesis. , that is a latest generation digital mammography that allows the early detection of breast lesions thanks to the possibility of carrying out a stratigraphic study of the breast.

Ultrasound is a non-invasive and painless diagnostic imaging test , which allows you to study the breast thanks to the use of ultrasound (without radiation). Both exams last a few minutes

What does “risk factors” mean?

By risk factor we mean any element that is able to influence the increased probability of developing a certain disease.

However, being more likely than the general population to get breast cancer does not necessarily mean developing the disease. For example, some women with one or more risk factors for breast cancer will never have the disease, while about half of women who develop cancer have no apparent risk factors. 

What are the factors that increase the risk of breast cancer?

There are specific and general risk factors . The latter are more or less directly associated with the development of cancer in general, and are cigarette smoking , excessive alcohol consumption , obesity ; the specific ones, on the other hand, are divided into mild, moderate, significant risk factors for breast cancer.

L ‘ age is a slight risk : around 77% of women diagnosed with cancer of the breast have more than 50 years and at least 50% are over 65, while a significant risk is represented by personal or family history of breast cancer. In fact, a woman who has already had breast cancer, such as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or invasive breast cancer, has a 3-4 times higher risk of developing a new primary tumor, i.e. not a relapse, in the same breast or in the other breast.

Having a mother or sister with breast cancer (but the risk of a male relative with breast cancer is not exempt, although rare) increases the risk up to three times, especially if the cancer developed before menopause. on both breasts. Finally, genetics, or having inherited the mutation in the BRCA1 gene, and the presence of precancerous breast lesions.

Among the factors that define a moderate risk , however, the non-direct family history , for example aunts, grandmothers or cousins ​​with breast cancer, overweight especially if the concentration of fat is abdominal, familiarity for other cancers (ovarian, melanoma, pancreas ) and prolonged use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).


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