The Importance of Breast Health Prevention

L'importanza della prevenzione senologica - Barbara Pesce

Breast health prevention is an important appointment in every woman’s life, starting from a young age. But it’s not enough to just say ‘mammogram’ or ‘ultrasound’ to feel at ease; it’s also important to rely on experts who use advanced technologies. So, how to choose? Dr. Barbara Pesce, a radiologist at the Breast Center of Paideia International Hospital and one of the leading experts in the field, explains it to us. Here are her tips.


Consult Specialized Centers and Ask if the Mammogram Machine Has Tomosynthesis

The latest generation diagnostic devices are incredibly performant. Starting, for example, with mammography, there are devices that also have tomosynthesis and more recently the use of contrast medium. These are state-of-the-art mammograms that produce extraordinary images while ensuring a significant reduction in radiation dose. These images, when combined with ultra-high-definition large screens, greatly help achieve the primary goal: early diagnosis of breast cancer. Therefore, besides encouraging women to get a mammogram, an additional recommendation is to go to facilities dedicated specifically to breast diagnostics. Ask if the mammogram machine has tomosynthesis. Because this constitutes a guarantee. Tomosynthesis is a three-dimensional evaluation of the mammary gland that helps overcome all the summation images related to the fact that the breast organ has a three-dimensional structure. By performing a series of radiograms that slice the gland into very thin layers, even the smallest alteration free from ‘summation noise’ can be seen. And this makes the difference. It is also important to emphasize one last non-negligible detail: the latest generation mammogram machines require much less compression of the breast compared to the past. This leads to greater participation by women who are often worried about experiencing pain.


The Ultrasound Should Also Be Performed by a Breast Specialist

Certainly. These devices also undergo almost daily technological evolution. And regarding ultrasound, this is even more true. Ultrasound, being an operator-dependent exam, should ideally be performed by a breast specialist. It would be better if it was the same specialist who also reviewed the mammogram. This is because it makes it easier to correlate one exam with the other. Considering that ultrasound is often performed as a complement to the mammographic image, the person who has performed both exams knows more easily what to look for.


Consult an Experienced Breast Radiologist

The Italian Society of Radiology recommends that an experienced breast radiologist reads at least 5,000 mammograms a year. For this reason, it is important to turn to specialized centers. Competence and trained eyes are needed.


The Same Advice Applies to Pelvic and Transvaginal Ultrasounds: Experience and Technology

The same advice that applies to ultrasound and mammography also applies to pelvic and transvaginal ultrasounds, another important appointment in gynecological prevention. In this case too, one must consider the device and the operator. For pelvic ultrasound, the suprapubic technique is used, which means a full bladder and a probe passed over the lower abdomen, or the transvaginal system. By inserting a very thin probe inside the vagina, it allows for a more accurate view of the uterus and ovaries. Often, depending on the conformity, anatomy, and scar results, the integration of the two techniques provides a more complete view of all pelvic organs.


Learn More with Dr. Barbara Pesce in the Interview on Medicina 33

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