Breast cancer is one of the most frequent cancers in Spain. But did you know that the mortality rate for this disease has been stabilizing and the survival rate has increased over the last 20 years? This is due, among others, but as a fundamental factor to the early detection of breast cancer. Improved treatments also contribute. And, as a whole, progress has been made in combating it.
The mortality rate in our country is one of the lowest in existence. According to the Cancer Observatory, only 28 inhabitants die per 100,000. Although other factors such as age, general health and stage of cancer development also play a role, you should know that screening programs are essential.
Here we explain why, what they consist of and how a mammogram helps you to know if you have any type of breast lesion. If you manage to treat it in time, the results can be very satisfactory.
What is a screening program?
In a context of early detection of breast cancer, we mean that it is diagnosed in its early stage. That is, when you have not yet had symptoms that you suffer from it and when the chances of cure are almost 100%. For this reason, early detection is crucial.
Screening programs are available for this purpose. These have the clear objective of identifying it by means of population screening aimed at healthy people, with periodic mammographic tests. However, the result is not definitive. If you test positive, you must then undergo a biopsy for confirmation.
In Spain, such campaigns have been carried out since 1990. Data have shown that mammograms are effective in reducing mortality in women. It is a reliable, safe and easy to practice technique , since it is a double projection x-ray of your breast.
This method makes it possible to detect breast lesions up to two years in advance, that is, before you notice their presence. As a result, the treatment you receive is less aggressive, so the benefits of a mammogram every few years outweigh the few drawbacks (radiation).
On the other hand, there are also specific action protocols that are activated for certain groups. We are talking about women who meet high-risk criteria (personal or hereditary) for breast cancer and who should be followed more closely.
When should you have a mammogram?
The target population for screening is women between 50 and 69 years of age, as the incidence of cancer is rising sharply. Therefore, we recommend that you participate in the mammography screening program if you are in the mammography age group. However, in Spain there are screening campaigns starting at age 45. In some autonomous communities, even 70-year-old women can participate.
The biannual periodicity (one test every two years) has also demonstrated its benefits for early detection. Other diagnostic methods, however, have not yielded evidence of high reliability. This is the case of breast self-examination, which you can perform yourself, or physical examination by your physician.
Benefits of mammography:
- It allows the detection of tumors that have not grown too much and that cannot be palpated. This helps to fight them better in order to eliminate them.
- Identifies microcalcifications: small calcium deposits that can sometimes be a sign of cancer.
- It is not a painfultest, since you only receive a minimal dose of radiation. However, you may feel some discomfort when you press on the breast for a few seconds.
- False positives or false negatives are rare. In many cases, these results are caused by the type of breast density of the patient. For example, if you have heterogeneously dense or extremely dense breasts, the sensitivity of mammography is lowered.
Breast lesions that can be detected:
Once the images obtained after the test have been obtained, breast lesions can be seen and identified. These are classified into three groups:
- Nodules. They are solid lesions of up to 30 millimeters which, when they pass this threshold, are known as masses. If the nodules are circumscribed and have a defined border, they are more likely to be benign, something that is reduced if their margins are irregular or spiculated.
- Microcalcifications. These tiny calcium spots are frequently encountered. Depending on their morphology and location, they may or may not be suspicious.
- Distortion of the architecture. It refers to areas that suffer some type of alteration of the mammary tissue, but without being a nodule.
Now you know more about the relevance of early detection of breast cancer and the advantages of mammography in screening programs. If you suffer from this disease, at Phytogen Medical Foods we have a natural and totally safe product that helps relieve the pain caused by the treatment you are undergoing. With Olimina3 you have a food supplement whose efficacy is corroborated by clinical studies.