What is breast cancer screening

Breast cancer screening and early detection of breast cancer

In the fight against the most common cancer in women is the Breast cancer screening is more important than ever today. The possibilities for early detection of breast cancer and the treatment of women with breast cancer have developed rapidly in recent years. The chances of diagnosing breast cancer at an early stage and treating it successfully have thus increased.

But the decisions that patients and doctors have to make together have also become more complicated. Because not everything that is medically feasible also makes sense in individual cases. The right Balance between sensible controls and unnecessary uncertainty to find - this is what breast cancer screening and early detection is all about. And when it comes to the treatment of breast cancer, the possible benefits and side effects of operations, medication and other measures must be carefully weighed in each individual case. The decision of the patient herself is more and more often asked for.

© Markus Mainka / Fotolia

The following Breast cancer screening information are aimed at all women. Because they all live with the risk of breast cancer, even if most of them will never get it. Knowledge helps - against breast cancer and also against the fear of it. And you can do something about it:

  • with your personal lifestyle,
  • with the knowledge of special risk factors,
  • by having regular breast self-exams
  • with the perception of early detection appointments and
  • by talking to your friends, sisters, mothers or daughters about it.

Below is brief information about each of them Options for breast cancer screening and early breast cancer detection by the doctor and instructions for breast self-examination (breast palpation). The individual medical examination methods for further clarification and diagnosis are described in more detail on the page on breast cancer diagnostics.

Breast cancer screening at the doctor

What can I expect from the anamnesis for breast cancer screening?

With the start of the statutory cancer screening program, a Anamnesis and educational talk about risk factors for breast cancer Tobe offered. The most important risk factor for breast cancer development is included age. Quality-assured breast cancer screening examinations for breast cancer screening are useful for every woman whose age indicates a higher incidence rate, regardless of the various disease risks. The anamnesis of the other ask to:

  • Age,
  • Menarche,
  • Menopause,
  • BMI,
  • Cycle phase,
  • the first pregnancy to term,
  • Breastfeeding,
  • Cancer and radiation therapy,
  • benign breast diseases,
  • premalignant breast diseases,
  • Breast surgery,
  • Hormone therapy (preparations, duration, current intake),
  • the socio-economic status,
  • the familial cancer burden, especially with regard to breast cancer and ovarian cancer (genetic risk constellation).

What can I expect from the clinical examination for breast cancer screening?

The medical palpatory (groping) and inspection (observational) examination of the mammary gland and regional lymphatic drainage areas must and should at least be part of every early detection program and breast cancer screening from the age of 30 be carried out at regular intervals throughout life. Study results show that especially from the age of 40 through the medical palpatory and inspection examination of the mammary gland and the lymphatic drainage areas In combination with mammography, breast cancer screening and early detection of breast cancer can be made more effective.

Do I need a mammogram for early breast cancer detection?

Mammography is currently the only one for them Detection of breast cancer precursors or early tumor stages general as effectively recognized method. Prospectively randomized studies show that with the introduction of screening mammography as a series of x-rays, an age-dependent breast cancer mortality reduction of 20 to 40 percent is possible. Because of the randomized trials one is effectiveness early detection mammography for women between the ages of 50 and 70 Years of age, recently also between the ages of 40 and 50, but can also be assumed after the age of 70. The individual benefit of mammography predominates from the age of 40 the risks resulting from radiation exposure. The optimum ratio of benefit and risk is between the ages of 50 and 70.

Mammography is currently the safest imaging method to diagnose breast cancer. As general early detection measure However, only mammography screening is used for women between 50 and 69 years of age offered. Women who are younger or older have to pay for a mammography themselves if there is no suspicion of breast cancer. If a lump or other irregularity is found during an examination and your doctor prescribes a mammography for further clarification, the health insurance company will continue to cover the costs.

© Monkey Business / Fotolia

Advanced diagnostics for early breast cancer detection: sonography and magnetic resonance therapy

The Sonography is a Additional examination to clarify unclear findings. However, it is unsuitable as the sole method for early detection. The contrast agentMagnetic resonance imaging is a Additional examination with special indication. The value of magnetic resonance imaging has not been evaluated in prospective randomized studies.

Breast self-examination

The breast self-examination contributes significantly to individual motivation and awareness for preventive measures. Regular, proper breast palpation also favors the discovery of carcinomas. Even if the effectiveness of self-examination must not be overestimated, breast self-examination must be Part of an early detection program be and stay. Proper breast palpation cannot be learned and started early enough, but it should from 30. Be carried out regularly. Women should also be informed and educated about the effects, advantages and disadvantages of breast scanning in an early detection program.

What does proper breast scanning for the early detection of breast cancer look like?

Look at yourself for a chest palpation in the mirror. Like most women, your breasts are likely to vary in size. However, this is not a cause for concern. But there is beyond that noticeable differences between left and right? One-sided changes in shape or size, indentations, protrusions or skin changes are a reason to go to the gynecologist. If you have the Raise your arms above your head, the breasts should naturally move upwards with them. Note if your chest is buckling in any place as you raise your arms. That is also a reason for a check-up appointment with the doctor.

© Markus Mainka / Fotolia

Carry out breast self-examination at your leisure

Palpation of your chest should allow you to have time and feel relaxed. Make sure you really do systematically palpate each part of the chest. Feel how the breast feels just under the skin and in depth (you need to apply a little more pressure with your fingers). Feel also the edge of the pectoral muscle towards the armpit and the armpit itself from. The area around the nipple feels a little harder. You can also classify this better if you palpate your chest regularly and are familiar with it. Finally, you should have your Squeeze the nipple and watch out for fluid. If you notice any change that worries you, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

What symptoms should you see a doctor for?

When one of the following signs the woman should see a doctor immediately for a more detailed examination and clarification:

  • palpable lumps in the chest or armpit
  • Swelling or reddening of the breast (or part of it)
  • Skin change (ulcer-like change)
  • apparent inflammation of the nipple (eczema)
    Inflammation of the breast outside of pregnancy
  • "Orange peel"
  • Leakage of fluid from the nipple (especially if one-sided and bloody)
  • Retraction of the nipple or skin
  • emerging differences in breast size and girth
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes under the armpit

Even if the symptoms listed above are completely absent, there may be a change that is neither visible nor palpable from the outside. These changes can only be achieved through a X-ray of the brust can be determined. The changes can be any of the following:

  • non-palpable knots
  • Condensations
  • circumscribed structural unrest
  • Expansion of a milk duct
  • special arrangement of the smallest calcifications (micro-calcifications)

Prof. Dr. med. Prof. h.c. Christof son
Dr. med. Florian Schütz