Breast Cancer: Eight Dangerous Delusions

Breast cancer is one of the most terrible diseases of women, which is associated with a lot of myths..

In this article, Dr. Holly Pedersen, an oncammammologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio (USA), along with his colleagues will tell you about eight of the most common and dangerous misconceptions about insidious disease..

1. Mammography is not needed today

Breast cancer experts agree that mammography saves lives. American statistics say that thanks to mammography, the number of deaths associated with breast cancer has been reduced by as much as 20 percent. Early diagnosis of cancer means timely medical intervention and better survival in any age group.

We hope that the day will come when doctors will detect breast cancer without mammography, using simpler, cheaper and more harmless tests. But today, mammography is a must for everyone. In 70 percent of cases, breast cancer is found in women without a burdened family history. Even if your grandmother, mother, aunt, sisters never had breast cancer, you should not relax.

The American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Cleveland Clinic strongly recommend that all women, starting at age 40, have a mammogram every year.

2. Self-examination of the breast - an obsolete method

This is a very dangerous misconception, which deprives thousands of women of a valuable opportunity for the timely detection of breast cancer. In fact, you should regularly examine your mammary glands and report suspicious changes to your doctor..

If you know your breast well, it will be easier for you to detect any changes in its tissues. Look for unusual seals or nodules. In addition, you should be aware of the presence of breast cancer in your immediate family and try to update this information annually..

3. The mammogram is in order. So I'm healthy

It is important to understand that mammography is not a 100% accurate method. Up to 15% of patients receive false negative results, that is, in some cases, mammography does not detect cancer, although in fact it is.

A 8-year study in the United States involving 1222 women with breast cancer found that 13% had absolutely normal mammograms less than a year before diagnosis.

The conclusion suggests itself: if you suspect that something is wrong with the breast, pay attention to this and ask the doctor to conduct additional tests.

4. I do not need a mammogram. Better MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging is a highly sensitive method that is suitable for the early detection of breast cancer. But MRI does not always replace periodic mammography.

Mammography is the only imaging technique that clearly shows the microcalcifications present in the breast, a possible early sign of cancer. Mammography is best for detecting the smallest changes in breast architecture.

In 2007, the American Cancer Society issued recommendations for periodic MR screening of high-risk women, but such an examination in the United States is still not covered by insurance. Despite its high sensitivity, this method has two serious drawbacks: a large number of false-positive results and excessive examination costs.

Dr. Pedersen believes that it is worth talking with a doctor about breast MRI if you have a burdened heredity and want to play it safe. To everyone else, in her opinion, regular periodic mammography is more suitable.

5. Thermography is better than mammography

Thermography, or thermal imaging diagnostics, consists in obtaining infrared (thermal) photographs of the mammary gland. This quick, safe, and non-invasive procedure has a history of over 40 years, but has only been approved by the FDA as an aid to breast cancer screening..

In June 2011, FDA officials said that “there is no reliable scientific evidence on the effectiveness of thermographic screening devices, including cancer and other breast diseases”.

The agency drew attention to the fact that this is an exclusively auxiliary method, and also expressed concern that due to the reassessment of the capabilities of thermal imaging diagnostics, many American women are refusing periodic mammograms..

Comments, as they say, are unnecessary.

6. Genetic mutations are widespread

In the United States, public awareness of the hereditary tendency to breast cancer has grown dramatically in recent years, not least due to the revelations of Angelina Jolie, who, on her own initiative, went on a preventive mastectomy.

Since Angelina's mother suffered from ovarian cancer, the actress passed the BRCA1 genetic mutation test, which turned out to be positive. This mutation means that a woman has a very high risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer. To prevent the irreparable, the mother of six went to remove the mammary glands and ovaries.

In fact, only 10 percent of breast cancers and 15 percent of ovarian cancers are associated with genetic mutations. Moreover, BRCA gene mutations are the most common - 1 case per 400 people. Not so much.

7. A mastectomy is the only way to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

All women should know that early diagnosis is the key to saving life in cancer. According to Dr. Pederson, with timely diagnosis of breast cancer, more than 95% of patients manage to save.

But there are also numerous ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer. For example, drinking alcohol and being overweight after 40 years are very significant, risk factors that not everyone is aware of..

Many of our women, with an indifferently doomed look, state that they are getting fat “not from cutlets, but from years,” and after such self-justification they continue to calmly gain pounds. In fact, excess fat kills, do not forget about it.

Dr. Pederson recommends that women of all ages maintain optimal weight, exercise at least every other day, and limit alcohol consumption to six drinks a week..

8. Breast cancer treatment should always be as aggressive as possible.

It’s really better to talk about this to a specialist. Breast cancer is different and requires an individual approach. Today, surgical removal of the mammary gland, radiation and chemotherapy are used to treat cancer. A treatment plan is drawn up by a doctor taking into account many factors and depends on the particular case.

Do not rush to claim that your doctor is wrong. Find an experienced specialist who will not spare his time, talk with you and try to explain the pros and cons of each of the proposed treatment options. Contrary to popular belief, the most aggressive treatment is not always justified and does not always improve the final result. Do not forget about the risks that such treatment is fraught with..

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