What you need to know about breast health to protect yourself from cancer

Octo­ber 19, 2020, 16:45

On Octo­ber 20, we cel­e­brate the All-Ukrain­ian Day against Breast Can­cer. Accord­ing to sta­tis­tics, every 7–8 woman in Ukraine has prob­lems with the mam­ma­ry glands, but she turns to the doc­tors too late… What you need to know about breast health in order to avoid seri­ous ail­ments, what symp­toms to pay atten­tion to, how often to vis­it a mam­mol­o­gist? Read and mem­o­rize the answers of oncol­o­gists!

what you need to know about breast cancer


1. About diseases

What patholo­gies of the mam­ma­ry glands are now the most com­mon and what is their cause?

The most com­mon dis­eases treat­ed by women are mastopa­thy, breast cysts and fibroade­no­mas. The most com­mon caus­es are uncon­trolled use of hor­mon­al con­tra­cep­tives, late preg­nan­cy (or lack of preg­nan­cy), as well as var­i­ous dis­eases of the endocrine sys­tem.

2. About “bad” genes

My grand­moth­er and moth­er had breast can­cer. Can it be passed down to me?

It is not can­cer itself that is inher­it­ed, but cer­tain muta­tions (“break­downs”) of genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Muta­tions of these genes can be trans­mit­ted both through the female line and through the male line (to an equal extent). Car­ry­ing cer­tain genes does increase the risk of malig­nant tumors with age. How­ev­er, this is not a rea­son for pre­ma­ture unrest. Even if the risk is high, this does not mean that a woman will def­i­nite­ly get sick. But in this case, clos­er super­vi­sion by a doc­tor is required.

how to examine breasts


3. About mastopathy

Some call it a “pre­can­cer­ous” con­di­tion, oth­ers believe that there is no such dis­ease at all. Where is the truth?

Cur­rent­ly, there is no unam­bigu­ous opin­ion about the role of mastopa­thy in the devel­op­ment of can­cer. From this point of view, the nodal form of mastopa­thy caus­es the great­est dan­ger. It devel­ops due to the “wrong” restruc­tur­ing of the breast tis­sue. But dif­fuse mastopa­thy is not so dan­ger­ous.

4. About pain before menstruation

Feel­ing of “burst­ing” in the chest before men­stru­a­tion — is this nor­mal?

Unex­pressed pain and a feel­ing of full­ness in the mam­ma­ry glands before or dur­ing men­stru­a­tion is accept­able. This is a nor­mal reac­tion to cycli­cal changes in the body. But if the pain inten­si­fies and oth­er symp­toms appear (asym­me­try of the mam­ma­ry glands or areas of indura­tion), you should con­sult a doc­tor.

5. About research

Is mam­mog­ra­phy dan­ger­ous for health?

X‑ray radi­a­tion from mam­mog­ra­phy is emit­ted in very small dos­es, and in gen­er­al, such short-term radi­a­tion is not dan­ger­ous to health. After the age of 40, pre­ven­tive mam­mog­ra­phy is rec­om­mend­ed every year, even if there are no com­plaints (malig­nant tumors in the mam­ma­ry gland can progress very quick­ly). If there are risk fac­tors, doc­tors may order more fre­quent test­ing.

breast examination photo


6. About visits to the mammologist

At what age and how often should you vis­it a doc­tor?

  • From an ear­ly age, it is nec­es­sary to be observed by a mam­mol­o­gist for girls who are at risk (there are close rel­a­tives who have been diag­nosed with breast and ovar­i­an can­cer).
  • For girls under 25 who are not at risk, a con­sul­ta­tion with a mam­mol­o­gist is nec­es­sary when she is plan­ning a preg­nan­cy in the near future.
  • After 25 years, all women need to vis­it a mam­mol­o­gist as a pre­ven­tive exam­i­na­tion, do an ultra­sound of the mam­ma­ry glands and small pelvis, and after 40 years, do a mam­mo­gram.
    Usu­al­ly, mam­mog­ra­phy is rec­om­mend­ed to be done on the 6–12th day of the men­stru­al cycle, and ultra­sound — from the 4th to the 11th day of the cycle.

7. About topless tanning and solariums

How does ultra­vi­o­let radi­a­tion affect the breast? Can women sun­bathe top­less?

Top­less sun­bathing is not allowed! An excess of ultra­vi­o­let radi­a­tion can pro­voke the devel­op­ment of seri­ous dis­eases, includ­ing malig­nant ones. Also, do not get involved in solar­i­ums. Pop­u­lar with us “arti­fi­cial tan­ning” in Europe and Amer­i­ca is gen­er­al­ly pro­hib­it­ed for peo­ple under 18 years of age. Because in solar­i­ums the dose of radi­a­tion is 15 times more than at noon some­where on the beach. And radi­a­tion dos­es (espe­cial­ly in chil­dren and young peo­ple) tend to accu­mu­late and accu­mu­late their path­o­gen­ic effect.

8. About tight bras and push-ups

how to choose a bra photo


Too tight bra or push-up bra can lead to breast swelling?

A direct con­nec­tion between an uncom­fort­able bra and the devel­op­ment of breast can­cer has not been proven. How­ev­er, it is still impor­tant that the under­wear does not squeeze the chest, does not rub the skin and does not cause dis­com­fort. It is also not rec­om­mend­ed to wear a bra for more than 12 hours in a row.

9. About breast self-examination

Has it lost its rel­e­vance now? After all, there are so many exact meth­ods …

  • Breast self-exam­i­na­tion is still an impor­tant pro­ce­dure for the pre­ven­tion of tumor dis­eases of the mam­ma­ry glands. It must be done at least once every 3 months. Most effec­tive — on the 4–5th day of the cycle.
  • In a cir­cu­lar motion, start­ing at the top of the gland, move in a spi­ral to the nip­ple, pay­ing atten­tion to seals, nod­ules, swelling.
  • Pinch each nip­ple indi­vid­u­al­ly between thumb and fore­fin­ger. See if there is liq­uid com­ing out and what col­or it is.
  • Then care­ful­ly feel the armpits and sub­cla­vian region.
breast self-exam photo


10. About anxiety symptoms

What symp­toms should be referred to a mam­mol­o­gist?

If you are wor­ried about chest pain, there is a dis­charge from the nip­ples, you feel seals in the chest or armpit. By the way, a “sus­pi­cious” for­ma­tion in the chest is not always a man­i­fes­ta­tion of oncol­o­gy. In the mam­ma­ry glands, seals can occur from time to time, which dis­solve on their own. The fact is that men­stru­a­tion in a woman can take place in dif­fer­ent ways. For exam­ple, there is an anovu­la­to­ry cycle, in which ovu­la­tion and the devel­op­ment of the “yel­low body” do not occur. The mam­ma­ry glands are sen­si­tive to such changes. But it is still nec­es­sary to con­sult a doc­tor.

And about what you need to be pre­pared for if you decide to have a breast aug­men­ta­tion oper­a­tion, what con­se­quences mam­mo­plas­ty can lead to, see the video from super­mod­el Natalia Got­siy.

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