Breast cancer screening
The situation in Serbia
Breast cancer is the most common malignant tumor among women in Serbia. Each year about 4,600 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and 1600 women die from this disease. One in eight women during her life is diagnosed with breast cancer.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that occurs when normal cells begin to multiply rapidly and destroy surrounding healthy breast tissue and other organs later.
Breast cancer is most common in older women who:
- have close relatives (mother, sister, aunt, grandmother) suffering from this disease;
- had their first period before the age of 12th year, and the last after the age of 50th year;
- are nulliparous or women who had their first child after the age of 30;
- used hormone therapy, alcohol and tobacco for a long period of time;
- are more obese and physically inactive.
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor, which, if detected early can be completely cured. The Republic of Serbia has started a program for the early detection of breast cancer using screening mammography, which is free to all women aged 50 to 69 years.
What is screening?
Screening represents examination of apparently healthy women, without the presence of any symptoms or signs of the disease, which can detect early changes in the breast tissue, when effective treatment is possible.
What is mammography?
Mammography is an x-ray examination which can detect changes in the breast that are not palpable or cannot be detected using other types of inspection. If breast cancer is detected at an early stage, the chance for a cure using the non-radical surgical methods is greater, the recovery is faster and the quality of life is better than in women in whom the disease is detected at later stages. The doses of radiation used in mammography are small and harmless.
How to perform a mammography?
Before the mammographic examination women should not use deodorant, powder or perfume whose particles are seen on the image and can affect radiologist’s ability to evaluate the mammography image. Mammography is performed by recording both breast and for most women is painless and lasts for short period of time.
Where you can have screening mammography?
Address and telephone number of health facilities where you can have a mammography are indicated in the invitation letter that arrives at your home address.
- Between the two cycles of screening you should perform regular breast examinations at your physician or self-examination once a month.
- If you notice a visibly changes in the size of your breast, the presence of nodules in the breast, change in color and in appearance of the skin, the occurrence of discharge from the nipple - contact your doctor URGENTLY.
For more information, contact your local health center.