Hereditary predisposition is only a possible risk of developing breast cancer. Experts have since been able to demonstrate numerous other factors that increase the likelihood of this cancer.
Prevention of breast cancer in women over 20 is advisable
The likelihood of developing breast cancer is also a question of age. The risk is not always the same. In general, the risk increases with age. Statistically speaking, almost 58,000 new breast cancer patients are diagnosed each year. Young women are rarely affected. However, the risk increases from the age of 40 and 50. The knowledge can help to minimize the risk, because the various preventive examinations can be weighted accordingly. The health insurance companies also take age into account in the preventive check-ups and advise on the various procedures. The costs for the common methods are usually covered by the health insurance companies.
Consider risk factors in breast cancer screening
Age is only one factor in risk assessment. Even if young women rarely develop breast cancer as soon as additional enhancers are available, the risk increases significantly. This includes:
- Long-term pill intake
- Later growth spurt
- Late onset of menopause
- No or late births
Breast cancer screening for women between 20 and 29 years old
Even if the likelihood of developing breast cancer is very low at this age, women should regularly check their breasts themselves. Mammography at this age is not recommended. If suspected, an ultrasound examination can be useful. This applies to all women who are not classified as particularly at risk. As part of the annual gynecological examination, the doctor also asks about diseases in the family. If breast cancer occurs, he will include an examination of the breast.
Breast cancer screening for women between 30 and 39 years old
From the age of 30, the health insurance company pays for the breast examination once a year by the gynecologist. If there are no other abnormalities, this examination is sufficient if you also feel yourself regularly. In the event of changes, the doctor will decide whether mammography or an ultrasound should be done.
Check-ups between 40 and 49 years
The risk of developing breast cancer increases from the age of 40. An early diagnosis should be possible with breast cancer screening. The basis for the recommendation is that a high number of random findings are found in the course of the investigations. These are primarily forms of breast cancer that are curable if treated early. The doctor scans the breast once a year. If a finding is found, he will order a mammogram. Magnetic resonance imaging can also clarify abnormalities.
Check-ups between 50 and 69 years
The independent tactile examination should also be a matter of course in this phase of life. The annual examination by the doctor is also important and continues to be financed by the health insurance. If there are any abnormalities, the doctor recommends mammography. An x-ray may also be useful in this age group. However, these are individual decisions that depend on many factors.
In this age group you will receive a letter every two years inviting you to a mammography screening. It is a voluntary offer. With this invitation you will also receive addresses to which you can contact to make an appointment. If you are in this age group and have not yet received an invitation but would like a mammogram, you have the right to make an appointment without incurring any costs. There is also no need to be suspicious. The health insurance company bears the costs. Breast palpation will also continue to be covered by health insurance.
Prevention in advanced age
If you are over 70, you are not excluded from breast cancer screening procedures. Furthermore, the health insurance company takes over the annual tactile examination by the gynecologist. Examination using mammography is also available to you, without any specific suspicion.
Precaution in the event of hereditary preload
If there is a family history of breast cancer, this is particularly stressful for women. In order to counter the fear, a genetic test can also be indicated as part of breast cancer screening. Such a test can be used to prove the likelihood of breast cancer. A positive result does not necessarily mean that cancer will occur. But it can be a valuable tip to step up breast cancer screening. The possible examination procedures are taken over by the health insurance companies and depend on the personal risk assessment. If there is such a risk, not only are extensive investigations carried out, but the intervals between the procedures are also shortened.
Examination methods for breast cancer screening
There are numerous procedures that are used to prevent breast cancer.
First, you should take a close look at the chest. Raise your arms over your head and look at your chest. Pay attention to irregularities in shape and size. Also look at the skin and check if there are any changes here. Dents in the skin and changes in the nipples are also observations that you should tell the doctor.
This is followed by scanning. To do this, divide your chest into four quarters. Then raise one arm over your head. Take the other hand and wipe each quarter individually with three fingers, moving your hand clockwise. Do not just move the skin, but apply enough pressure to feel possible changes in the tissue. You can also scan while lying down. Also feel your armpits for tissue changes.
Mammography is one of the X-ray examinations. It has the advantage that it detects even small changes that are not palpable. This makes mammography an important procedure for breast cancer screening. The same applies here: Not every change is an indication of a tumor disease. However, they can be a signal for breast tissue remodeling processes, which in turn can lead to cancer. In mammography, the breast is pressed between two plexiglass panes so that the tissue can be examined as well as possible.
Mammography screening is a program for the early detection of breast cancer. It was decided in 2002 and is designed to reduce mortality from breast cancer. The goal was not only to have as many women as possible from the age of 50 mammograms every two years, but also that this examination should be carried out by specially trained doctors. The aim is to reduce the number of misdiagnoses that worry women unnecessarily.
The ultrasound examination
An ultrasound examination of the breast can be particularly useful in young women if there are abnormalities in the breast tissue. In women under 30 years of age, the tissue is still so dense that mammography does not provide reliable information. An ultrasound examination is then much more helpful.
Galactography for breast cancer diagnosis
In galactography, the milk ducts of the breast are examined using X-rays. It is used when the nipples release fluid. A possible cause can be carcinoma in the milk ducts. But it can also be a benign growth.
Magnetic resonance imaging for examination
Magnetic resonance imaging is another word for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The method allows the different layers to be displayed lengthways or crossways. The representation is possible through a strong magnetic field. It is not so much about prevention, but rather as an estimate of how large a tumor is and where it is located. It also applies to MRI that the results do not necessarily have to indicate a tumor.
Breast cancer screening thermography
Thermography, also called infrared analysis, is a process that has been used for 40 years. Simply put, it is a thermal imaging camera. The breast is examined with an infrared camera. Finally, an institute specializing in this evaluates the results. The procedure is harmless. However, it does not serve as an alternative to mammography, because it is based on the assumption that tumors have a different metabolism than the surrounding tissue and therefore radiate more heat. Experts are therefore always critical of this process.