How to monitor the state of the mammary glands
“Approximately every two months, sometimes more often, I check my breasts,” says Marlin Egan, a sales representative for a large computer company. I know that I need to be more attentive to this procedure. In the end, I'm 41 years old.
However, when I feel all these bulges and protrusions, I do not understand how I can recognize a dangerous formation if it appears. So basically, I rely on my doctor, whom I check in once a year and for whose purpose I undergo a mammogram. ”
Many women do the same as Marlin. Surveys have shown that, as a rule, women are aware of the need for a self-test, but only a third of them practice it. And although most women probably did a mammogram at least once, according to the National Institutes of Health, only 31 percent of women aged 40 years and older take pictures as often as the National Cancer Institute recommends. Apparently, the United States does not pay enough attention to mass screening for the detection of breast cancer, and experts from the National Cancer Institute believe that this may be the main cause of undiminished mortality from breast cancer in the last thirty years.
Although there is no reliable way to prevent breast cancer, experts say that early detection of a tumor gives the greatest chances of a cure. Therefore, most experts believe that every woman over 20 should follow the following recommendations:
Once a month to conduct self-examination of the mammary glands.
Undergo a medical examination every three years until the age of forty and annually after 40 years.
Between the ages of 35 and 39, get a mammogram to have pictures that would serve as a reference point.
At the age of 40 to 49, undergo a mammogram once every two years, at a later age every year.
It's simple enough, isn't it? Then why women do not follow these recommendations?
“One of the reasons is that breast self-examination is still poorly understood,” said Susan Love, MD, director of the Falkner’s Center for Breast Disease Research in Boston, as well as an associate professor and a clinician at the Harvard Medical Institute. We advise women to follow the changes, but do not explain to them exactly what changes. We do not explain what a cancer tumor is to the touch. ”
Like Marlin, most women trying to do a self-test, throw it away or do it irregularly because they are afraid. “They don’t know if they are doing the test correctly, and they’re afraid of finding something,” said Wend Logan-Young, MD, director of the Breast Disease Clinic in Rochester, New York, and a consultant at the Buchalo Roswell Park Cancer Institute. In any case, this is associated with anxiety and anxiety. I knew women who told me: “Yes, I can examine my breasts, but if I suddenly find a tumor, I cannot bear it, I will die.” Women need someone else, their doctor, for example, to take responsibility, ”she adds.
Even women who have benign tumors have been reluctant to do a self-test. As a result of a survey of 655 women, researchers from the faculty of health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found that for women who had tumors that were later found to be benign, the probability that they would stop self-checking was three times higher than the likelihood for women who never found tumors.
Women who have found benign tumors, believe that they voluntarily brought on a lot of trouble, the researchers conclude. Even if the outcome was completely favorable, the stress, discomfort, anxiety and insecurity that accompanied this event had such an effect that many people stopped doing self-examination. Doctors should be especially attentive to these women, and they should try to convince them to continue the self-test.
“Women who are so worried that they simply cannot conduct self-examination of their breasts, they just need to visit their doctor more often, say, every three to four months, says Dr. Love, who is the author of the book Dr. Love's Book diseases of the breast. " Then they will not experience painful feelings, but if a tumor appears, it will be detected at an early stage of development.
Do not consider yourself to be special if self-checking knocks you off track, Dr. Love adds. We all have our own bziki, you just have a heightened suspiciousness. ”
- How to perform a breast self-test
- Early diagnosis can save your breasts
- What makes a mammography
- When a tumor is suspicious
- Waiting for results
- Difficult waiting
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