Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer is a quite common and very aggressive disease. Early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment. Usual symptoms include the appearance of a painless lump, nipple discharge, or the thickening or ulceration of the skin of the breast.
Every woman should learn how to do and perform self-examination monthly, and in case of finding a palpable or visible abnormality, to consult with a specialist as soon as possible. In addition, annual check-ups and screenings are recommended.
During the course of a complex breast screening, the specialist first records the medical history of the patient (lactation, family medical history, looking into previous findings) then checks the breast first by palpation for lumps and other kinds of abnormalities. Parameters such as asymmetries, redness of the skin, lactation and changes in skin texture are also of interest.
Physical examination is followed by breast ultrasound, and above the age of 35, also by mammography (X-ray examination of the breast).
Ultrasound is the gentlest imaging method available as there is no radiation exposure with this examination. The transducer detects the sound waves reflect off differently of the various body structures. The device transforms these sound waves into electrical signals and displays them as an image of the examined area.
Mammography is performed with an imaging process different from conventional ultrasound in parameters and technique: thus it is capable of displaying abnormalities in the soft tissues. During the procedure, the breast is placed on a metal plate and compressed by another plate. Holding this position, 2-2 images are taken from different angles.
Based on the Professional Medical College findings of 2010 women over the age of 35 are recommended to undergo mammography. For patient over this age, complex breast screening consists of the combination of palpation, mammography and ultrasound examinations.
If any abnormalities are detected, cell sampling is possible through a needle (aspiration cytology) or excision for histology evaluation. Exclusion of malignant tumors is only possible by surgical excision of the suspected area followed by a histology evaluation.