MAMMOGRAPHY is the gold standard in early detection of breast cancer even before physical symptoms develop
Breast cancer accounts for approximately 25% of all cancers in women, affecting one in 28 South Africans during their lifetime. This figure is even higher in urban communities in South Africa, where the frequency is even one in eight according to National Health Laboratory statistics. This insidious disease continues to be the subject of intensive education campaigns designed to encourage women of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds to support early detection and diagnosis.
"As scary as a cancer diagnosis is, the good news is that modern medicine's advances and early detection and diagnosis are leading to more women with less aggressive and invasive treatment surviving and conquering cancer.The need for timely and accurate detection can be simple not overemphasized, "says Dr. Jackie Smilg, Chair of the Specialist Group of the Radiological Society, the BIGS (Breast Imaging Society of South Africa).
The goal of breast cancer screening tests is to find the disease before it causes symptoms. Breast cancers that are found at checkups are rather small and still limited to the chest. The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are some of the most important factors in predicting the prognosis of a woman with this disease. As with all cancer screening, the recommendations for breast cancer screening are based on a combination of factors that include evidence of the risk of the disease, the benefits and harms of the screening, and the costs.
The gold standard for breast screening remains the mammogram. The radiography reported mammography is the basis for the early detection of breast cancer. Regular mammograms can often help to find breast cancer at an early stage when treatment is most successful. One of the biggest benefits of a mammogram is that it can detect changes in the breast years before the onset of physical symptoms. Results from many decades of research clearly show that women who have regular mammograms earlier have found breast cancer earlier, are less likely to need aggressive treatment and are more likely to be cured. It is also important to dispel the myths that the negligible radiation doses used in modern mammography may cause breast cancer or pose a risk to the body, including the thyroid gland. There is no scientific evidence to support this.
"Several relatively new breast imaging technologies, tomosynthesis, C-view imaging, and contrast mammography, have given a new dimension to the fight against breast cancer: digital tomosynthesis allows multiple breast tissue levels to be queried to create a 2D mammogram from these tomosynthesis slices "Contrast mammography, in which contrast examines the vascularity of a lesion, promises to be a valuable tool for problem solving," explains Dr. Smilg.
In women with a significant family history of breast cancer or special circumstances, mammography may also follow ultrasound in screening and symptomatic examinations and breast MRI.
Women are often irrationally convinced of the fear of radiation risk, which is negligible, other "imaging techniques" such as thermography, the use of light-emitting devices or systems that "feel" masses. These imaging techniques are often performed by non-medical personnel without training in conventional breast imaging. There is no evidence that these methods have any value in screening and detection of breast cancer compared to mammography. They can cause harm by overlooking breast cancer, resulting in delayed diagnosis and limited treatment options when used as a replacement for mammography. The Radiological Society of the SA (RSSA) and its sub-specialty group and the BRE image society (BISSA) further recommend that women over the age of 40 receive annual mammograms. Early breast cancer detection through mammography allows for less extensive surgery, fewer mastectomies, and less frequent or aggressive chemotherapy. The RSSA and BISSA also agree with international organizations and warn that overdiagnosis claims are excessive due to methodological errors in many studies. It is important to note that, as international studies show, the overwhelming majority of women returned to further examination after inconclusive mammography, simply receiving additional mammographic views or an ultrasound for clarification. Only one to two percent of women had to undergo a needle biopsy as part of a screening mammogram. "The short-term fears that could result from an unclear test result simply do not outweigh the many lives saved each year by mammography screening." Ultimately, any indecisive outcome is another and deeper investigation.
"Women should decide for themselves whether short-term fears outweigh the risk of dying from breast cancer, and when it comes to dealing with a potentially life-threatening disease that is as extensive as cancer, it makes perfect sense to be the most effective Deciding on decisive, conclusive screening technology that remains the mammogram, "adds Dr. Smilg.
BISSA encourages all women to start regular mammography from the age of 40, and to do so every year until the age of 70, whether they have symptoms or have an anomaly – early detection is the primary goal.
High-risk women, usually due to breast cancer in the immediate family, should have yearly mammograms and MRI, starting at the age of five before the age of their family member was diagnosed with breast cancer or after 40 years – whichever first comes. High risk is defined as a lifetime risk> 20-25%. Your doctor will help you to calculate this or it can be done online.
Women should have their breasts regularly checked for irregularities and undergo a clinical breast exam by a GP or gynecologist at least once a year. Any anomaly guarantees immediate medical consultation with a doctor. Many nodes may prove harmless, but it is important that they all be checked.
In support of the Month of Breast Health (October 2018), all participating members of the RSSA / BISSA offer a 10% discount on mammograms, which are not paid through medical assistance programs from October 1 through November 14. The General Terms and Conditions. For a list of participating members, contact the RSSA on 021 713 2601 or email email@example.com or visit the Radiological Society of South Africa (RSSA).
Every woman is at risk of developing breast cancer. However, there are certain factors that would put women in a higher risk category. The risk factors include: age, family history, personal history, dense breast tissue, overweight or obese women, lifestyle factors, breast irradiation before age 30, race / ethnicity and hormonal environment.