8 Things you need to know about breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Month and there’s pink wherever you look! While there are lifestyle changes that can lower your chances of getting breast cancer, the real message is simple: early detection is often the difference between life and death, and awareness is everything 투애니원 다운로드.

And what if you do find a lump? We asked Dr Eugen Jooste, General Radiologist and Chairman of the Breast Imaging Society of South Africa, some practical questions. Here are the answers:

1. What happens during a mammography, and approximately how long does it take?

Your breasts are compressed in at least two planes so we can get the best possible radiographic images of the breast tissues. More views might be needed to further assess possible abnormalities. The procedure normally takes 4-6 minutes. In most cases a targeted breast ultasound will be done afterwards to check any areas of increased density. If there’s an abnormal finding, we might take a guided biopsy to get tissue for testing.

2. How long before I would get my test results?

It depends on the practice, but breast imaging results can be available within an hour.

3. How long can it take for breast cancer to develop?

Breast cancer comes in various forms and most take several years to grow into a palpable lump. Some of the more aggressive types can develop in a matter of months, but these are exceptions to the rule.

4. Women over the age of 40 are expected to go for a mammogram every 1 – 2 years. If a woman, who just had a mammogram with no sign of breast cancer, suddenly develops breast cancer afterwards, how quickly would it spread?

The more aggressive types are much more likely to spread (metastasise), and some of these are only detected once metastases have occurred. There is no specific time interval associated with likelihood to metastasise.

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5. Is the 1 – 2 years between each mammogram close enough for early detection? (Barring self-examination)

Yes, the majority of cancers will be detected under these circumstances and relatively straightforward treatment options will be available.

6. Genetic testing for the BRAC 1 & 2 genes has become quite a popular topic. Is genetic testing available in South Africa and, if it is available, is it accessible to the public?

Yes, genetic testing is available in most large centres in South Africa and is accessible to the public.

7. Are genetic tests covered by medical aid schemes? If not, how much would one have to pay to go for a genetic test?

Most Medical Aids will cover the costs (from savings portion) if cancer diagnosis has not been made yet.

8. What conditions or diseases, other than breast cancer, show up in a mammography or interfere with the image?

Luckily, most lumps and bumps in the breasts are due to non-cancerous causes such as fibroadenomas and cysts. These changes are all influenced by hormonal changes. These should still be checked by biopsy or fluid aspiration to confirm that they aren’t cancerous and to give relief. These can hide subtle signs associated with breast cancer and it takes a lot of experience and skill by the Radiologist and rest of imaging team in order to keep false negative studies to the minimum.

Remember: self-examination and regular health check-ups are your first line of defence. Be well.

Does breast cancer run in your family? Come speak to our doctors about it. Simply sign up on our website and download the free Hello Doctor app from the Google Play or iTunes store. Then you can ask our doctors a question via text or call, anytime, anywhere!