Assessing breast health with a breast exam can really save a life. 95% of breast cancer cases are curable with timely diagnosis and treatment. Recent studies show limited effectiveness of self-palpation for early detection of suspicious breast changes. It is safest to use imaging methods on the latest generation equipment, which is accessible in almost all major cities of the country, in MedLife clinics.

Dr. Bui Laurentiu, specialist in radiology and medical imagingPhoto: MedLife

Only 24% of Romanians say they have taken steps to prevent cancer in the past three years, and of these, only 8% say they have had a breast ultrasound or mammogram. This is one of the findings of the latest study of the National Center for the Surveillance of Non-Communicable Diseases in Romania: “Knowledge, Attitude, Practice (CAP) of the population regarding the prevention and early detection of cancer” 2023.

Statistics from a different perspective (GLOBOCAN 2022) indicate 12,685 new cases of breast cancer in Romania in 2022 compared to 9,629 new cases in 2018 – an increase of 24%. “Recently, we have been seeing new cases of breast neoplasia every week,” confirms Dr. Laurentiu Buet, MD, Primary Medical Imaging and Radiology at MedLife Genesys Arad.

The good news is that 95% of breast cancers are curable if diagnosed and treated in the early stages.

Do you feel tightness in your chest? Go to the doctor

A lump in the breast is not necessarily a sign of breast cancer. In fact, most breast nodes are benign, only 20% of them turn out to be malignant after examination. But “nodular formations, which have a benign nature, must be observed periodically, after short intervals of time – every three to six months, if their appearance is stationary and has no signs of evolution. Rapid growth of an already known, apparently benign nodule may indicate the presence of phyllodes tumors (no – a relatively rare type of fibroepithelial breast cancer). They have a high growth rate and account for 0.3% to 1% of breast tumors,” explains Dr. Bui.

Therefore, if you feel tightness in the chest, do not delay going to the doctor for an examination. However, in addition to lumps, other alarming breast symptoms include:

  • changes in skin color;
  • covering retraction;
  • desquamation of the areola, which may or may not be accompanied by itching;
  • nipple discharge.

Accuracy and efficiency of imaging studies compared with self-palpation

Until recently, most doctors recommended periodic self-examination of the mammary glands and consulting a doctor when a suspicious mass is detected. Currently, most medical organizations around the world no longer recommend self-palpation as a screening method for breast cancer, as this method has been shown to be ineffective in detecting cancer and improving survival rates for this type of tumor.

“Palpation or self-palpation of the mammary glands is a subjective method of examination, which can be used to detect possible changes in the mammary glands. But only tumor lesions that exceed 1 centimeter in size, at least in one of the axes, can be identified in this way,” says Dr. Laurentiu Bue.

The most effective methods of detecting potentially risky lesions of the mammary glands and their evaluation, which are also used as methods of prevention, are ultrasound of the mammary glands and mammography. MRI of the mammary gland is added to them – a study that is carried out with a contrast agent, if there are no contraindications to its introduction. Breast MRI is the most sensitive test used to diagnose breast cancer and is especially recommended for people with dense breast structures, as well as for people with breast implants or with multiple microcalcifications.

All women under the age of 40 must have an ultrasound of the mammary glands. “This is a non-invasive and non-irradiating method, with which you can conduct an indispensable study to detect both benign and suspicious formations, especially starting with those that exceed the size of 2-3 cm. The degree of diagnostic accuracy of this procedure increases in proportion to the resolution of the image, the degree of penetration , as well as homogeneity of the image at all levels of depth,” the visualization doctor notes.

Sonoelastography is a modern technique that consists in quantitative and qualitative measurement of the elasticity of tumor formations. It is also non-invasive and can provide information about the malignancy of a tumor with 90% accuracy.

For women over 40 years of age, mammography is recommended as a primary examination, but even earlier if it is necessary after the initial ultrasound. Tomosynthesis mammography is a study that allows the identification of very small lesions, with significantly increased accuracy of tumor diagnosis, accurate three-dimensional localization, and with a lower dose of radiation compared to classical mammography.

“After detection of a solid nodular lesion in the mammary gland, depending on such aspects as the nature, size and connections with the surrounding tissues, blood flow, firmness, mobility and family history, further observation of the evolution at certain intervals is considered or, in the case of when a malignancy is suspected, a biopsy may become mandatory,” says Dr. Bui.

MedLife owns the largest network of private services at the national level, equipped with 15 mammographs (Bucharest, Ploiesti, Cluj-Napoca, Tirgovishte, Brasov, Sibiu, Oradea, Arad, Piatra Neamts, Bacau), 23 MRIs, more than 300 ultrasound machines in divisions throughout the territory. countries so that patients can benefit from the standards of the international medical system with the most modern equipment and good doctors who specialize in medical imaging.


This article is supported by MedLife, the largest private healthcare network in Romania, and aims to be a source of information and inspiration for a healthy and balanced life.

The main source of happiness for Romanians is health. At MedLife, people’s happiness makes us happy and motivates us to provide medical solutions of the highest standards.

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