Yes, your participation is useful. By screening, we are able to detect breast cancer before it causes any complaints.
Please do not wait for an invitation for the breast cancer screening. It is important that you contact your family doctor immediately to have your breasts examined.
The mammography can be uncomfortable or painful. For each X-ray, we compress your breast between two plates for a few seconds. This is necessary to produce a clear image, with as little radiation as possible. This compression process may be painful, but it's not harmful.
Research shows that breast self-examination does not reduce breast cancer mortality. Breast cancer is also not detected earlier in women who regularly examine their breasts. Breast cancer can be detected earlier thanks to the population screening. Through self-examination you will become more familiar with your own body: for example, how your breasts feel and what your skin looks like. You might feel or see a change more quickly. Every woman should decide whether she wants to do breast self-examination. More information about how to conduct self-examination can be found on the website https://www.thuisarts.nl/borstkanker/ik-wil-zelf-mijn-borsten-onderzoek… (in Dutch).
Does a specialist still examine you regularly? And are X-rays of your breasts taken at least once a year? Then you do not have to participate in the screening. Are you not regularly examined by a specialist? Then you might be able to participate in the screening. If you are not sure about this, please contact your family doctor or the screening coordinator.
Women under the age of 50 often have a lot of tissue in the breasts. This limits the efficacy in detecting breast cancer with X-rays. This tissue is also more susceptible to radiation. Also, X-rays of the breasts are often less easy to assess because of this tissue. In women over 75, breast cancer usually develops slowly. At this age, it is very unlikely that we detect breast cancer that will be the cause of death. Participation in the breast cancer screening program could lead to unnecessary treatment of cancer for these women.
Your breast is compressed between two plates during X-rays. According to plastic surgeons, the risk of damaging the protheses as a result of the compression is very small. According to plastic surgeons, breast implants are no reason not to participate in the screening. Tell the screening employee that you have a breast prosthesis. You decide whether or not you want to participate in the screening. Sometimes, we cannot assess the x-rays of women with breast prostheses. This is the case when insufficient breast tissue is visible, and it depends on the location and size of the breast prosthesis. If you have participated in the population screening and your X-rays cannot be assessed well enough, this will be stated in your result letter. These women are advised to contact their family doctor if they have any complaints about their breasts.
Every year, approximately 1 million women in European Netherlands participate in the breast cancer screening program. Radiation can cause cancer, but this risk is very small. On the other hand, the breast cancer screening program prevents 850-1100 deaths per year.
Agreements have been made with the family doctors and the hospital about follow-up care. If an abnormality is found, your family doctor will explain to you what to expect. Your family doctor will then refer you to the hospital, which you can visit within a week. Depending on the result, the hospital will discuss the further treatment plan with you.
Yes, you can. You do not have to wait a certain amount of time between the vaccination and your breast examination. Your axillary nodes may be enlarged from the vaccination, but this will not affect the assessment of your x-rays. For privacy reasons, it is not possible to provide the information that you have been vaccinated to the reviewer of the photos. That's not necessary either.