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Last reviewed by: Aleksey Portnov , medical expert, on 01.06.2018

A mammologist is a specialist who deals with breast diseases (diagnosis, treatment, prevention). He conducts a survey, when revealing pathological processes in the mammary gland, makes a diagnosis and prescribes further treatment of the mammary gland.

Effective treatment of any diseases of the female breast is, first of all, in the early detection of the disease. Therefore, women should appear on a preventive examination at a mammologist at least once a year.

Examination of a mammologist is mandatory for various (even minor) injuries of the breast, before starting oral contraceptives, in the case of pregnancy planning, after inflammatory diseases, especially inflammation of the female genital organs.

The risk group includes women who:

  • are prone to frequent gynecological diseases, especially such as cysts, uterine myomas, polycystosis, and the like.
  • are registered with an endocrinologist
  • the first birth was after 35 years
  • use oral contraceptives (especially nulliparous)
  • there is a hereditary factor (relatives with oncological diseases, especially on the female line).

Pulling a visit to a doctor is not necessary with the appearance of pain in the chest, any (even the smallest) seals, a sudden change in the size of the breast (both or one), redness, discharge from the nipples, retraction or, conversely, protrusion of the nipple, and seals in the area of the armpits (lymph nodes).

When should I go to a mammologist?

Since the mammalogist is a doctor who is engaged in pathological processes in the mammary glands, one should consult him at the appearance of discharge from the nipples, soreness or tightness in the chest, in general, with any abnormal conditions that you felt in the mammary glands. The overwhelming number of women feel regular pain in the mammary glands. In 90% of cases, the pain indicates a hormonal disorder. If the soreness is felt only in one breast, or there is a slight condensation, there are discharge from the nipples, this should cause concern. Some women before menstruation feel pain between the chest and armpit. To ease the condition, you need to give up drinks with caffeine content, wear supporting underwear.

After injury or biopsy, painful sensations in the chest are of a completely different nature. A woman feels pain in one place, regardless of menstruation, usually of a cutting nature. After a biopsy, this can last about two years. Painful sensations under the breast, often are echoes of other diseases that are not associated with the mammary glands.

Stress conditions several times increase soreness in the mammary glands, a strong stress can change the hormonal background, and this can negatively affect the condition of the breast and lead to unpleasant diseases.

If you notice that there were discharge from the chest - this is an occasion to seek the advice of a mammologist. Many women suffer from excreta, but in not always this has to do with cancers. Allocations may appear in the second half of the menstrual cycle, when there is accumulation of fluid in the breast canals. In the event that pregnancy does not occur, the fluid gradually dissolves. But if a woman is excited, a few drops of this liquid may appear from the chest. Among doctors there is such a thing as "athlete's milk", as the cause of the release is physical activity.

Allocations are not always related to cancerous tumors in the chest, but there are some symptoms, when the appearance of which the woman should be alerted:

  • allocations of a permanent nature;
  • involuntary discharge, i.e. When there was no depression, physical exertion, friction, etc .;
  • excretions are observed from one breast (one or several times the nipple);
  • highlighting is not a transparent color;
  • The nipple is inflamed or itchy.

Seals that form in the mammary gland do not always indicate a malignant tumor, but if you notice the following signs (at least one) you need to visit a mammologist urgently:

  • immobility of compaction (movement possible only with neighboring tissues);
  • solid sealing;
  • During menstruation the compaction remained unchanged;
  • when you palpate, you do not find a similar seal on the second breast;
  • When pressing on the seal, pain is felt;
  • The seal has uneven edges.

There are risk groups that are susceptible to the development of malignant breast formations. These are women who had:

  • early or frequent abortions;
  • frequent gynecological diseases;
  • refusal of breastfeeding without medications;
  • a change in the hormonal background (disruption of the endocrine function, excess weight, uncontrolled use of oral contraceptives);
  • a strong nervous shock over the past year;
  • early-onset menstruation (up to 11 years) or late menopause (after 55 years);
  • heredity (a disease of breast cancer of mother, grandmother, aunt).

What tests do you need to take when you contact a mammologist?

When you see a doctor mammologist, after a mandatory examination and palpation, you will have to pass some tests that will help in diagnosing.

First of all, if there are any secretions from the nipple, you will need to give a smear and send it to a cytological study.

Cytological diagnosis is the quantitative and qualitative study of the composition of cells. The thus identified atypical cells (incorrect) may indicate a disease.

If necessary, you may need a diagnostic puncture. It is necessary for detecting nodules, seals or other formations in the mammary gland. If the mammologist on examination and palpation revealed a discoloration of the color and structure of the skin on the breast, excretions that are bloody or yellowish in color, the diagnostic puncture is mandatory, so in this case it may be cancer. The task of the puncture is to determine what kind of education is by nature: benign or malignant. The doctor preliminarily assesses the size and shape of the tumor, usually for this use ultrasound or mammography.

One week before the diagnostic puncture, do not take aspirin and anticoagulants.

What diagnostic methods does the mammologist use?

The mammologist uses the following diagnostic methods to determine the diagnosis:

  • Palpation. As a rule, the diagnosis should be carried out in the middle of the woman's menstrual cycle. First of all, the doctor assesses visually the condition of the mammary glands (color, structure). Then he immediately starts to probe the breast. Diagnosis is carried out in the standing position, and then lying on the back, hands should be thrown back behind the head. At a palpation the status of nipples is estimated. The examination begins in the standing position, each chest is probed in turn, then the condition of both is evaluated simultaneously (with both hands). Then the patient lies on her back, since in the supine position to determine the formation and its mobility is easier than in the vertical. When palpation of the chest, you can identify hypertrophy, cysts, tumors, but to make an accurate diagnosis only with the help of this method of diagnosis can be with pronounced manifestations of the disease (inflammation, lipoma, papilloma). All formations of a different nature in the thickness of the breast require additional diagnosis.
  • Mammography. Diagnosis is the examination of the breast with the help of weak X-rays. The purpose of mammography is to identify a cancerous tumor at an early stage. Like any X-ray study, the mammography takes a series of pictures, which are then analyzed by radiologists. X-ray images show pathological formations.
  • Ultrasonography. As an additional method of diagnosis, along with mammography, ultrasound is used. Usually, a diagnosis is made for further investigation of seals or formations revealed on mammography or palpation.
  • Ductography. A method that examines the discharge from the nipples, in the event that the mammogram was insufficient.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Quite an effective method of investigation in questionable formations, as well as in the examination of patients diagnosed with breast cancer immediately before surgery. Cancer patients need this method to identify new formations that can affect the course of the operation.
  • CT scan. Assigned to determine the size of the tumor, whether it is removed or not due to germination in the chest. The method of investigation consists in carrying out a series of X-ray images, which are further processed by a computer.
  • Thermomammography. This is a modern research method in which a special device captures infrared radiation and tissue temperature in the mammary gland, which is a consequence of abnormal cell proliferation. This process makes it possible to consider the cancerous process long before the onset of tumor formation. The method is absolutely harmless and is intended for primary examination of women. Such a survey can be done once a year, with preventive examinations.

What does the mammologist do?

The doctor mammologist is engaged in diagnosis, treatment, and also prevention of diseases associated with the mammary gland. Modern technologies make it possible to cope with quite serious diseases with great success, for example, mastitis, mastitis, lack of breast milk during lactation, cracked nipples, etc. Today, in practice, apply reflexo-, magneto-, laser, phytotherapy. Homeopathy is also successfully used.

A mammal consultation for a woman is very important. On reception at the doctor it is necessary to tell about all sensations in a mammary gland, pains, allocation from nipples, whether there were at you interrupted pregnancies, how many were sorts, stresses, whether you are inclined to depression. All this will help the doctor to assess your psychological condition and disease, and draw the appropriate conclusions on the basis of all this.

After the conversation, the doctor performs an examination and palpation of the mammary glands. At palpation (palpation) the doctor estimates a status of a breast and lymphonoduses. Palpation is mandatory on admission to the mammalogist, as this allows revealing pathological formations, but, unfortunately, even a very good specialist, is not able to grope very small seals or formations. Therefore, additional diagnostics are always necessary.

You need to visit a mammologist at least once a year. If there are predispositions (heredity, age, concomitant diseases), then you need to come to the consultation 2 times a year (every six months). Quite often, women make the mistake of discovering any problems with their breasts, they are referred for advice to a gynecologist or surgeon. But only a mammologist can carry out a full diagnosis of the breast, reveal a pathology, diagnose and prescribe a treatment.

What diseases does the mammologist treat?

The mammologist treats the following diseases, which are affected by the mammary glands:

  • mastitis (inflammation). In the common people it is a woman. It occurs most often during periods of breastfeeding in women who first became a mother. But it is possible to develop mastitis before delivery, regardless of pregnancy or childbirth. In rare cases, it develops in men.
  • abnormalities in the development of the mammary glands (monomastia, polymastia, micro- or hypomastia, mammary hypoplasia, etc.).
  • diseases caused by hormonal changes (mastopathy, fibroadenomatosis, fibro-cystic formations, gynecomastia)
  • education in the mammary gland of a benign nature (cystadenopapilloma, fibroadenoma, lipoma, etc.).

Modern methods allow successfully treat various diseases of the breast. The effectiveness of treatment is directly related to the timely detection of the pathological process. This is most important during periods of so-called hormonal "jumps" that occur during adolescence, during pregnancy, before menopause. Very often the lesions are not probed and do not cause any discomfort to the woman. Such small formations can be seen only on ultrasound or mammography. It is for this reason that every woman should visit a mammalian doctor once a year, which will allow them to detect pathological processes in the mammary gland, and, consequently, to conduct effective treatment.

The mammologist collects an anamnesis, conducts an examination, appoints additional diagnostic methods (mammography, cytological examination, etc.), diagnoses, determines the treatment regimen. In addition, a mammalian doctor can give advice on proper breastfeeding, and also hold a conversation about the prevention of breast diseases.

Advice from a mammalogist

Each doctor mammologist warns about the risk factors that may lead to problems in the future in the mammary gland.

Injury of the mammary gland. The main danger is that at the site of the trauma later malignant tumors can form. Therefore, we must try to protect the chest from blows, bruises, etc. In the event that the injury was not avoided, it is necessary to consult a mammologist, perhaps he will find it necessary to undergo a more complete examination.

Infections. Frequent inflammatory processes of the female reproductive system lead to a disruption of the hormonal balance. For any hormonal changes, the breast reacts immediately. Soreness, swelling of the mammary glands before menstruation, the appearance of nodules - this all happens as a result of hormonal failure. In the end, this leads to mastopathy.

The pathology in the mammary gland comes from an infection that is betrayed from the genitals, it can be in the body in a "dormant" state, until there is an opportune time for its development. Chronic inflammations in the mammary gland are of great danger, which have the property of acquiring a malignant form.

Late childbirth. The first pregnancy, which occurred after 30 years, promotes the development of cancerous tumors in the mammary gland. Most likely, the reason for this is poor ecology, the impact of toxic substances that are contained in urban air. As a result of external factors in the cells, the ability to respond normally to the hormonal burst, which invariably accompanies pregnancy, is weakened.

Oral contraception. There have been many studies in this field and it is proved that oral contraceptives do not provoke cancer tumors in the mammary gland. However, it is also proven that long-term use of birth control pills (more than four years) in nulliparous women can lead to the development of malignant tumors. Therefore, girls who have not yet given birth should find a different method of contraception and not abuse oral contraception.

Radiation. According to medical experts, the radiation radiation to which a woman under 30 is exposed provokes a cancerous process in the mammary gland. X-ray examination, which is usually administered no more often than once a year, has a dose that is safe for a person, but still the doctor must record the radiation dose every time in the medical card so that the maximum threshold is not exceeded in the future.

Ultraviolet. The skin around the breast is very tender, thin, lightly concealed. The mammologist recommends taking sunbaths (sunbathing) in the morning (before 1000) or in the evening (after 1600) hours. If it happened that you were in the sun at noon, then you need to protect your chest with a special tanning agent with a high filter.

Diet. The main cause of problems in the mammary gland, it is primarily hormonal failure in the body. There are some foods that increase the level of estrogen. It is necessary to avoid smoked, fatty foods, replacing them with vegetables, cereal products, citrus fruits. There are data according to which the painful state of the breast before menstruation is caused by products with a high content of methylxanthine (coffee). Replacing the morning coffee with a cup of tea (preferably green), will reduce the soreness of the chest.

The mammologist warns that systematic preventive examination is the main method of early diagnosis of the pathological processes in the chest. All questions and problems can be discussed at the reception with a qualified doctor, get all information about prevention, about possible risks and complications.

It is important to know!

Anatomical structures of the breast are easily differentiated by using modern ultrasound equipment. The image of the mammary gland normally varies widely and depends on the ratio of fat, connective and glandular tissue. Unlike x-ray mammography, ultrasound of the mammary glands allows you to visualize the tomographic section of the image of a fragment of the mammary gland from the skin to the chest wall. Read more..

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