The breast is a branch of medicine deputy to the study of diseases of the breast. The term senology originates from ” breast “. In “breast” anatomy, it designates the groove between the two breasts, but nevertheless this word is used as a synonym for breast.
In the past, senology was a branch of gynecology , as the breast was thought to be a purely female organ. In fact, men also have a rudimentary breast form. Over time, however, an increasing number of specialist branches have become interested in the study of the breast, its complexity and its pathologies.
These branches vary from endocrinology , to radiology , to oncology , to pathological anatomy. At the moment a specialization school in senology does not exist, however for about 20 years innumerable efforts have been made to give this specialist path, which is active above all in the oncological field, the digniity of a specialized path in all respects.
What does the senologist do?
Normally the senologist is an oncologist who specifically deals with the study of breast diseases , paying particular attention to tumors involving this part of the female body. The term “senologist” also often refers to the surgeon specialized in breast surgery.
What are the pathologies most often treated by the senologist?
The senologist usually treats all pathologies such as abscesses, cysts, mastitis, various types of inflammatory and infectious processes that affect the breast, focusing in particular on breast cancer . Breast cancer is a very common disease characterized by high mortality rates. In women, it is the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer.
It is a very complex disease, which requires a multidisciplinary approach both in the diagnosis, as it involves the sonographer and the radiologist, and in the staging (anatomopathologist), also requiring the intervention of an oncologist, surgeon, radiotherapist when making the therapeutic choice. For this reason, it is perhaps necessary to create a new sector of specialist medicine that deals specifically with the breast.
What are the procedures most used by the senologist?
Among the procedures most often used by the senologist are:
- breast examination (patient’s anamnesis; breast observation; breast palpation);
- instrumental examinations (depending on the case: breast ultrasound, mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, PEM – or a positron emission tomography or PET specific for breasts);
- genetic tests to evaluate the possible inheritance of breast cancer .
- Among the breast cancer treatment procedures most used by the breast surgeon are:
- the quadrantectomy
- mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast: it can be limited to the gland only or involve the pectoral muscles and lymph nodes of the axillary cavity).
When to ask for an appointment with the senologist?
Women who have reached sexual maturity should be visited by a senologist periodically, even in the absence of particular problems or specific symptoms, to monitor the health of their breasts. It is necessary to refer to the senologist in case the following symptoms are detected:
- localized or extensive pain
- presence of redness and / or swelling
- palpable or visible nodules
- nipple changes (outward or inward)
- leaking from a nipple
- changes in skin (localized orange peel appearance) or breast shape.