Mammology is a specialized branch of medicine dealing with female mammary glands. A mammologist studies the structure and functioning of a normal mammary gland and treats various diseases of this organ.
The modern medicine is capable of curing virtually any mammary gland pathology but on one condition – if the female patient visits the doctor in due time. The following symptoms should be a reason for consultations with a doctor:
- identified induration in the breast,
- density increased size of one mammary gland,
- changed shape or contour of mammary gland,
- inversion of nipple or skin area,
- skin reddening or desquamation on breast,
- emerging hollows and pits on the mammary gland when raising an arm,
- bloody discharge from the nipple,
- changed structure of mammary gland tissue,
- painful feelings in breast, discomfort,
- enlarged underarm lymph nodes,
- underarm edema or shoulder swelling.
A woman can detect most of mammary gland changes herself if she regularly performs self-examination.
Mammologists recommend women to be attentive to the mammary gland condition, periodically inspect and palpate mammary glands for timely identification of any change of their structure. The best time for self-examination is first days after the end of a menstrual hemorrhage because mammary glands are less edematous in this period. Any detected changes shall be reported to the mammologist.
Unfortunately, self-examination enables to identify already rather developed breast pathologies only. That’s why women are recommended to visit a specialist for preventive examination at least once a year.
The risk of mammological diseases grows if there is any genetic predisposition to breast diseases, in case of fat food overindulgence, if the woman smokes or has any hormonal disorders in her organism. Her age is also a factor increasing probability of mammary gland disease development.
When breast pathologies are an issue, the majority of women immediately think about cancer. Upon detection of an alarming symptom, the woman starts panicking, loses peace of mind and after some time goes to a mammologist for a “verdict”. However, in most cases their worries have no ground: about 80% of breast changes are of benign nature. Fibrocystic mastopathy is one of the widest spread mammary gland pathologies. This disease is diagnosed in more than half women of 30-50 years of age. Women in their post-menopausal period suffer from the fibrocystic disease much less frequently.
Cancer accounts for the rest 20% and is a leader among malignant tumors in terms of female mortality rate. Women in European countries are subject to breast oncology no less than in other parts of the world but a different culture of attitude to one’s own health has been developing in Europe for many decades. Most cancer cases in Europe and America are identified at an early stage when this disease is still curable. Any self-examination of mammary glands cannot substitute a full-scale diagnostics performed by a mammologist using ultrasonic methods and mammography.
An ultrasonic examination will enable to find out if the new tumor is benign or malignant, to specify mastopathy symptoms, particulars of tumor location. Women above 35 years of age have their mammary glands losing density and such examination method as mammography becomes of foremost importance. This procedure enables to detect even smallest formations not palpable in breast tissue and not identifiable by palpation.
Both ultrasonic examination and mammography are absolutely harmless procedures with no contraindications.
Computed tomography helps the mammologist to study breast tissues at various angles and find out how widely the tumoral process is spread.
When detecting new formations in tissues, the mammologist will sample the tumor tissue for biopsy. A thin needle for intramuscular injections or special needle of sufficiently large diameter is used for tissue sampling.
A mammologist’s consultation should become a rule for all women above 30 years of age.