Careful Diagnosis is Paramount
The problem with diagnosing breast cancer is that even if a patient seeks a doctor due to a breast symptom or an abnormality is found in a regular examination, the examining doctor may disregard the findings. When the doctor does not have enough information and perseverance, instead of more detailed examinations, they might recommend that the patient come for a control visit, usually one year after the examination.
Why Findings Are Not Examined?
Sometimes it happens that even after a year, an erroneous assessment is made and breast change is dumped into the “breast diagnostics bin” by estimating that the finding is likely to be a fibroadenoma, fibrocystic breast, etc.
The anomalous change is not sampled because
• it is difficult
• it is not a daily practice
• and not good enough samplers can be found
The worst case is taking a sample but not focusing it correctly.
During this time, the change in early breast cancer grows and metastasises, and we here at Clinic Helena get the patient when the disease is already at an advanced stage.
The Work of a Detective Bears Fruit
Diagnosing breast cancer is often the job of a spy. You need to suspect everything and persevere until the breast change or the secrets of a breast that is difficult to read are clear so that you can tell the patient with a good conscience “You do not have cancer” or “We know what the change is, at what stage it is, and how we can take care of it”.
Even an Experienced Doctor Can Be Nervous
I do admit that breast changes can be difficult and awkward to interpret, so you really need a knowledgeable and dedicated doctor to make the right diagnosis. I myself often have cold sweat on my forehead when I think about what to do in each case to avoid making mistakes. In my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Do Seek Treatment
Proper diagnosis of the breast is important and it applies to all people. If there is a lump in the chest, the diagnosis should be made and the situation should not just be monitored. People should learn to demand thorough examinations even if the doctors do not offer them. Doctors must mutually learn to do and find the right tests for each patient so that the right diagnosis is not lost at an early stage. This is a major global problem.
Tough Price of Waiting
The worst-case scenario can be what happened to one of our patients, whose symptom began as a lump in the neck in 2015, and now it has only recently been established that the patient has tonsil cancer, and it is metastasised to the neck. The change has been a slow process and could have been improved in time, maybe even now, but now its price is high for the patient because we have to e.g. perform extensive resections in the throat and neck.
My Wish to You
So, I hope that if you find abnormalities in your breasts, see a doctor and ask that if there are any ambiguities in the pictures, they will be carefully examined with further examination and a biopsy. This will ensure that any treatment you may need can be started as early as possible and you will be able to return to normal life as soon as possible.
Contact my team if your doctor does not have the opportunity to complete the diagnosis, or if you need another opinion.
PhD, Oncoplastic Surgeon