Ladies, please
have your breasts examined !

That the radiation they produce is by and large no more than what a passenger flying from Geneva to London might be exposed to. These little inconveniences are no reason to put one's life on the line.

And what about prevention?

The «friends» of cancer are well known. Alcohol, tobacco, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, or even an unbalanced diet are not compatible with good health. In the case of breast cancer, the list of risk factors is headed by age and heredity – a mother or sister who has had cancer of the breast before menopause does increase one's risk of having to face the illness – and to a lesser extent hormonal changes (early menstruation, or a late menopause or pregnancy). Nonetheless, it is difficult, if not impossible, to act on these parameters.


Women must not forget to do an annual control at their gynaecologist's. They should also perform auto-palpation, even if it is not considered very effective. As of 50 years of age, they should also undergo a mammography (often with an echography, which is more sensitive) every two years at the least. Note, too, that the latter examination is not just recommended to women after the menopause, and many doctors say openly that systematic screening as of the age of 40 would be good. See above for women considered at risk.Grangettes

Important progress also in treatments.
Multidisciplinary approach.

Ladies, please have your breasts examined !

I

mportant progress has also been made in the treatment. Chemotherapies are becoming more and more specific and are adapted to each case. They are sometimes administered before the operation as a way to reduce the size of the tumour as much as possible and, hence, to preserve the affected breast. «The future,» Yves Wespi predicts, «is the DNA chip that will allow us to adapt the treatment of the tumour with great precision.»

Specialised centres perform radiation therapy together with a surgical procedure (this machine is not yet available in Switzerland and the long-term effects are currently being evaluated). The new hormone therapies are also showing some very promising results. As for radiology, which is indispensable for the diagnostics, it has become a technology of the highest precision. Better yet, all the specialties have now been linked for more effective, faster

and pertinent care. Sharing of information amongst the gynaecologist, the radiologist and the oncologist is common, especially for «difficult» cases. Which further improves the supervision of the patient. And, in particular, further reinforces her chances of healing.

Of course, each case is different. Each patient requires a very specific approach. «Our role is not to impose our will», Yves Wespi continues. «Rather, it is to inform, to present possible options, with the advantages and the inconveniences, in order to help her make an informed decision.» Before the illness can even break out, the doctor must insist on the importance of screening.

And to remind the patient that mammography is rarely painful with today's equipment. And that they are increasingly effective even for women with dense breasts.

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