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Breast Check-Up

Breast Check-Up

Article Content
  • Breast Cancer Check-up Methods
  • What is Breast Examination?
  • What is Mammography?
  • What is Breast Ultrasound?
  • Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • The Importance of Early Diagnosis in Breast Cancer
  • Chance of Treatment Success
  • Less Aggressive Treatment
  • Lower Cost
  • Preventing Breast Loss
  • Breast cancer check-up (screening) is the general term for breast examination, mammography, and other screening methods that we can use to detect signs and symptoms of cancer before they progress. Regular breast screenings can detect breast cancer in its early stages, making it easier to treat.

    The primary goal of screening is to detect cancer at its earliest stage and provide treatment before it becomes life-threatening. Early detection not only saves lives but also organs. Additionally, in the case of advanced cancer, you can get rid of the disease without the need for extensive treatment.

    Breast Cancer Check-up Methods

    As mentioned before, breast screening refers to a series of screening methods. These include breast examination, mammography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and breast ultrasound.

    What is Breast Examination?

    Breast examination is the physical examination of the breast. It can be done at home by yourself or by a healthcare professional in a clinic. Any changes noticed in breast tissue, palpable masses, or other abnormalities should be reported to the relevant doctors. However, breast examination alone is not a conclusive method for cancer detection. If there is suspicion of cancer, after breast examination, doctors may request imaging tests such as mammography, ultrasound, and biopsy for a thorough analysis. Regular breast examinations are crucial and can be lifesaving.

    What is Mammography?

    Mammography is an imaging method where low-dose X-rays are used to take an X-ray image of the breast. The breast is placed between two plates, and X-rays are taken from various angles to provide a detailed analysis of the breasts. Annual mammographic screenings for women over 40 have been shown to significantly reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer. High-resolution digital mammography can be performed in modern screening centers, and a technique called tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography, is also available.

    When it comes to early diagnosis, mammography is considered a successful method. It has high sensitivity and is included in many hospitals' annual screening programs. Moreover, advancements in technology have reduced the level of radiation exposure during mammography. However, this exposure is not zero. Therefore, it may not be an ideal method for pregnant women and individuals sensitive to radiation. Additionally, mammography requires compression of the breast between two planes, which can be uncomfortable for some individuals. Difficulty in imaging dense tissues can also be encountered.

    What is Breast Ultrasound?

    Breast ultrasound machines create images based on the passage of sound waves through breast tissue. A probe is placed on the breast skin, and high-frequency sound waves are sent into the breast tissue; these waves either reflect back or echo to the probe. The device converts these changes into an image. Therefore, breast ultrasound is a very good method for evaluating abnormalities detected during examination or screening.

    Breast ultrasound is a radiation-free examination method. It can visualize tissues in detail and detect small masses. One of the greatest advantages of ultrasound is its ability to provide dynamic examination. It visualizes tissues in a live and moving manner, allowing for monitoring. This makes it a very useful method for examining tissue changes. However, breast ultrasound is limited in imaging deep tissues. Similarly, it has limited capability in examining tissues with high density. Therefore, ultrasound examination may be more challenging in individuals with dense breast tissue.

    Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

    Breast magnetic resonance imaging involves creating images on a computer based on the passage of radio waves through tissues. Contrast agents are used in breast MRI imaging. In some cases, such as pregnancy and allergies, contrast agents cannot be administered, so breast MRI cannot be performed on these individuals. Breast MRI is primarily used in individuals at high risk for breast cancer. It is generally not recommended for women at average risk for breast cancer.

    One of the main advantages of breast MRI is that it is also a radiation-free method, making it safe in terms of potential adverse effects from radiation. It also provides a more sensitive and detailed imaging capability. However, as a result, the risk of reaching a false positive result is higher.

    The Importance of Early Diagnosis in Breast Cancer

    The most important benefit of breast check-ups is that they enable early diagnosis of possible breast cancer. Early diagnosis, as in all types of cancer, is crucial in breast cancer. Evaluating the benefits of early detection of tumors through regular check-ups is essential from various aspects.

    Chance of Treatment Success

    The chances of success in treating a cancer case diagnosed early will be much higher. The risk of cancer spreading will decrease, and it can be easily overcome with less invasive methods without the danger of it growing into a life-threatening situation.

    Less Aggressive Treatment

    In early-stage cancers, much higher success rates can be achieved with much less aggressive treatments compared to those in later stages. Cancer treatment can be a challenging and exhausting process. While the drugs and other treatment methods contribute to eliminating cancer, they can also exhibit exhausting side effects. Therefore, with early diagnosis, less invasive, shorter-term, and successful treatments will be much less exhausting for the patient. Patients who recover with fewer side effects and other exhausting processes can continue their lives much more comfortably.

    Lower Cost

    Prolonged treatment duration and the number of treatments applied will not only physically burden the process but also increase the financial burden. Early detection will reduce the economic burden on patients as treatment can be initiated in a shorter period.

    Preventing Breast Loss

    Since the growth and spread of cancer are limited in early stages, saving the breast will be much easier. While in delayed cases, the breast may need to be removed, this risk is much lower with early diagnosis and treatment.

    To benefit from all these advantages provided by early diagnosis, all you need to do is regularly perform breast self-examination and not miss breast check-ups. Remember, defeating breast cancer, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, is not difficult at all with regular breast screening and early diagnosis.

    * Liv Hospital Editorial Board has contributed to the publication of this content .
    * Contents of this page is for informational purposes only. Please consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The content of this page does not include information on medicinal health care at Liv Hospital .
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    15 May 2024 13:35:42
    Liv Editorial Board
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