The breast specialist
Prof. Adriana Bonifacino Head of the Senology Unit of Sant’Andrea Hospital in Rome. Onlus President IncontraDonna
“There prevention needs to restart, Covid or not, and the controls have only one phase, which is that of immediately or soon. In Italy every year there are 400,000 new cases of cancer, albeit we were doing well before the screening was blocked: the latest data of 2019 gave about 4 thousand fewer cases of cancer than expected, reaching a first turnaround.
Let’s not play it by further postponing secondary prevention, the one that can see a problem in the bud. So go ahead for mammograms (better with mammograms in tomosynthesis, which in 40% of cases intercept tumors earlier), ultrasounds, pap tests and blood tests in the stool: we call the local ASL to find out when the screening that interests us starts again. IS we check the date of the last exams made: in too many we remember wrong dates of months, sometimes years.
Vaccinations for HPV in young people must also be resumed, otherwise we are approaching the age of the first sexual intercourse and, with it, exposure to the papilloma virus, since the condom does not protect against HPV ».
In senologyon the other hand, all checks must be scheduled, trying to make up for any delays within the next 4-6 months, as a matter of prudence. «The cell, in this space of time, can undergo modifications that must be diagnosed. And this applies to all women, remembering that breast cancer affects patients between 30 and 40 years of age in 20% of cases, who are out of age with respect to screening but should at least undergo a breast examination and ultrasound annually. “.
At home, during this period, breast self-examination must become more attentive: it cannot replace diagnostic tests, but it helps to intercept physical changes. What if a woman feels a lump to the touch and the Single Booking Center provides mammography and / or ultrasound too far in time? “It is necessary to ask the general practitioner for the prescription urgently, which guarantees the examination by means of the NHS within two weeks”.
Last warning: do not be afraid to take exams due to the Covid emergency. “The plates of the mammograms where the breast rests are sanitized after each use, and this also applies to the ultrasound probe and other instruments that come into contact with people”.