More recently, mastopathy was considered a disease of menopausal women. Today, it has significantly rejuvenated and is already found in fifteen-year-olds. And in general, in Russia, from twenty to sixty percent of women suffer from mastopathy. In essence, mastopathy is a benign formation in the mammary gland. Consolidations periodically arise, grow, decrease and disappear. But they can (!) become the first link in the chain of transformations into malignant tumors. Therefore, women diagnosed with mastopathy belong to a group of people with an increased risk of cancer, they are observed and treated by an oncologist.
The probability of rebirth is very small: out of ten breast formations, only one turns out to be malignant. But the existence of such a minimal danger does not give you the right, even at a young age, to frivolously hope for “maybe”.
That is why regular self-examination of the mammary glands should be carried out from the age of 14-15, without waiting for the pain to drive you to the doctor. Today you can get acquainted with simple techniques for examining your own breast in any antenatal clinic, clinic, hospital, doctors regularly distribute memos with similar recommendations.
If you haven’t met this one, take into account the following simple instruction:
Carry out this simple procedure every month during the period of greatest hormonal rest (ie, after the end of menstruation or shortly before them). If you find discharge from the nipples, hardening, swelling in the mammary gland or armpit, retraction of the skin or nipple, you will have to see a doctor immediately. The symptoms of the disease should also alert: pain in the chest, shoulder girdle, shoulder or armpit, a feeling of fullness, swelling, heaviness in the mammary glands.
But even if everything is normal, from time to time (especially after 40 years) it is necessary to undergo diagnostics using modern equipment. After all, you can independently feel the “nodules” that have already reached a size of about a centimeter, even more neglected forms of mastopathy lead to a visual change in the breast, and unpleasant symptoms may not appear at all. And modern equipment is able to determine the disease at the earliest stages, when it is still impossible to feel the nodule with your fingers or feel the alarming symptoms. Such early diagnosis significantly increases the chance of a complete cure. Thus, if you care about not only beauty, health, but also life itself, sooner or later you still have to undergo a medical examination by specialists.
According to their clinical manifestations, doctors divide mastopathy into a diffuse and localized (or nodal) form. In the first case, there are small dense areas in the breast tissue – cysts, which grow and spread over time. Doctors say that the mammary gland feels like a “bag filled with shot”. And when among these small “pellets” larger and sharply demarcated formations with cherries and larger are groped, nodular mastopathy is evident.
These large neoplasms also do not always carry an immediate threat. If they are made up of normal, identical (“typical”) cells and do not grow quickly, they may never cause cancer. But if their cells divide rapidly or have deviations in structure (“atypical”), there is a risk of developing a malignant tumor. Today, it is possible to distinguish a “harmless” tumor from a malignant one in advance, if you turn to a specialist in time.
Mastopathy has its reasons. The first of the provoking factors I would call abortion. This is a gross intervention in the harmonious hormonal system of the entire female body, tuned in to pregnancy. The mammary gland begins to prepare for the production of milk literally from the first days of pregnancy, and by the time of the abortion, significant changes are already taking place in it. Forcibly turning this process in the opposite direction certainly has a very harmful effect on the tissues of the mammary gland.
The second factor is gynecological diseases. The mammary gland is a single system with other reproductive organs, so any failure of this system also affects the mammary gland. That is why 75 percent of gynecological inflammatory diseases are accompanied by changes in the mammary gland. Yes, sometimes even a simple “stagnation” in the genital area is enough to provoke the development of mastopathy.
It has been proven that mastopathy and breast cancer most often affect women with an abnormal, from the point of view of nature, lifestyle. In Italy, for example, they specifically conducted a mass examination in convents. Their recluses who never gave birth and do not lead a normal sexual life, as it turned out, are prone to breast cancer many times more often than their “worldly” peers. Hence the inverse relationship: regular sex life, successful pregnancy and long-term breastfeeding are the best prevention of breast diseases. And not only prevention, but also the best medicine for the initial forms of mastopathy: breast tissues are rejuvenated, and small formations naturally dissolve without a trace.
Diseases of other organs that are not related to the reproductive system can also provoke mastopathy. The mammary gland enters the endocrine system of the body along with the ovaries, liver, thyroid and pancreas, adrenal glands. Therefore, a disease of any of these organs can lead to changes in it. That is why the correct treatment of mastopathy begins with the identification of the cause, sometimes lying far “aside” from purely “female” problems.
And besides, like cancer, mastopathy is largely the result of neurological disorders. Frequent stress, persistent nervous tension, anxiety about tomorrow – a “habitual” state. And mastopathy, as it were, loops this problem: appearing from nervous disorders, it itself becomes the cause of constant severe stress, fears, depressions of a woman. That is why psychotherapy is also one of the main means of dealing with it.
As for age, nodular mastopathy, which can degenerate into breast cancer, usually occurs in women over 35 years old. Diffuse usually occurs in younger women. But quite often, very young girls with a significant size of breast seals come to the reception. This is the so-called dishormonal mastopathy – caused by age-related changes in the hormonal background of the body. It is usually easily treated with medications, vitamins, hormonal stabilizing drugs, and best of all – pregnancy followed by childbirth and prolonged breastfeeding.
It is possible to diagnose the presence of formations in the mammary gland using mammography (X-ray) and ultrasound today in almost any district clinic, diagnostic center. An oncologist manages to find out a lot at the first conversation: about feelings, age, number of pregnancies and abortions, previous diseases and psychological state. Then the doctor performs palpation, but the specialist cannot always feel for small formations. So mammography will give a complete picture. And if with its help large “nodules” of localized mastopathy are revealed, the doctor makes a puncture – using a conventional disposable syringe, takes a sample of tissue in the compaction zone in order to see under a microscope what structure its cells have – “typical” or “atypical”.
Mammography is still associated with certain exposure. Therefore, sometimes, especially for young nulliparous women, it is recommended to use other diagnostic methods: ultrasonography or thermography. True, both of them are inferior to mammography in accuracy, and the latter, based on the microscopic temperature difference between healthy and malignant tissues, is also very laborious and lengthy (the examination lasts up to two hours and does not always give an unambiguous result).
Modern methods of treatment depend on the type of diagnosed mastopathy, and first of all – on its cause. After all, mastopathy is only a consequence of other diseases, as we have already talked about. Therefore, it is first necessary to eliminate provoking factors: psychological pressure, hormonal failure, gynecological diseases, liver dysfunctions, etc.
Sometimes eliminating the cause is enough for the problem of mastopathy to be resolved in the most favorable way. Small diffuse cysts are treated conservatively. For example, herbal medicine: fees from the root of valerian, motherwort, wild rose, corn stigmas, immortelle, birch buds are brewed in a tablespoon in half a glass of boiling water. Not so long ago, the homeopathic preparation “Mastodinon” appeared, but is already a success with women. For women of the older age group during menopause, the drug “Klimadinon” is effective. A drug produced from brown seaweed, “lamin”, is successfully used. In addition, the condition is significantly improved by multivitamin preparations containing vitamins A, groups B, E.
Most scientists believe that hormonal contraceptives have a positive effect on the condition of the mammary gland. Only the choice of a specific drug from the many existing ones should be left to the doctor. In any case, the doctor prescribes the treatment, because mastopathy, depending on the variety of its causes, is treated just as differently. Therefore, no self-treatment is unacceptable!
Alexey TARKHOV, oncologist