Mammography: see 4 myths and 2 truths about the exam
The exam is essential for the diagnosis of breast cancer; learn more about the method
Considered the main way of diagnosing and tracking breast cancer, mammography is a radiological exam that must be performed annually by women over 40 years of age. In addition to the disease, the technique also identifies benign lesions and nodules in the region.
Despite its effectiveness, some myths can make people avoid having a mammogram – either for fear of feeling pain or for underestimating its importance.
That’s why we talked to Vivian Milani, a radiologist, to demystify some beliefs about mammography.
1- Mammography causes thyroid cancer
The radiation emitted by mammography is minimal and does not cause thyroid problems. “The numerous published studies have already shown that there is no relationship between mammography radiation and thyroid changes. If the patient does not feel comfortable or insecure in performing the mammogram, we can use a thyroid protector during the exam”, explains Vivian.
2- Mammography causes damage to the silicone prosthesis
The doctor explains that the force exerted on the breasts during the examination does not cause any change. In addition, the patient should always undergo an evaluation before having a mammogram. “Alterations, such as contractures, rotation and even rupture, can be diagnosed in the clinical examination. In these cases, it is possible to include breast MRI for further evaluation.”
3- Trans men don’t need to have a mammogram
Trans men who have not had a mastectomy (complete removal of the breasts) should also have regular clinical exams, as well as a mammogram after age 40. “In all cases, regardless of gender, prevention with medical monitoring, clinical examinations and knowledge of one’s own body are essential to prevent the disease”, warns Vivian.
4- Touch exam replaces mammography
Exams aimed at diagnosing breast diseases, such as ultrasound and touch exam, are not a substitute for mammography. This is because the technique is able to identify small tumors, which cannot be diagnosed through imaging tests.
“Touch is a self-knowledge of the breasts that should be done monthly. In menstruating women, for example, this exam should be done after the menstrual period. In those who no longer have menstruation, they can do it on any day of their choice”, says Vivian.
The doctor points out that, although the touch exam is important, mammography and ultrasound are the only ones able to confirm, assertively and reliably, if there are nodules or even changes that may be imperceptible to touch.
5- Breastfeeding women can have a mammogram
In this case, it may be recommended to empty the breasts before the exam, in addition to performing an ultrasound in the region as a complementary technique – which helps to bring additional information.
6- Men can have a mammogram
Although routine mammography is not indicated for the male audience, those who present palpable changes in the region can and should undergo the exam. Among the warning symptoms are:
Changes in skin texture;
Color change in the region;
Papillary discharge (discharge from the nipple);
“Men should also pay attention to their breasts and, in case of any change, they should seek medical advice for clinical evaluation”, warns Vivian.
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The translator user relied on the following source:
Minha Vida Website – REF99827
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