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Self-examination of the breast

When I ask patients coming for aesthetic breast operations if they used to examine their own breasts monthly or at least once every two months after their periods, the shocking answer in 90% of the cases is an embarrassed or giggling no. If I would ask the same thing in the USA or in certain Western European countries, about 90% of the Ladies would be offended by this, since the question would sound like if they used to brush their teeth. The difference is shocking, because according to statistics the incidence of breast cancer in our region is 10 times higher than in the USA or in Western Europe. Some try to excuse themselves telling that the gynecologist palpates their breasts in every second year. They do not know that the greater part of breast tumours can easily be palpated even 1-2 years earlier than that, when they could be healed by a simple operation and not by a sort of amputation. So, even if the gynecologist would remember the number, size and position of nodes in the 4000 breasts of his 2000 patients, the diagnosis might be years late, which might cost the patient’s life. About 80% of all breast cancer is diagnosed in a late stage in Hungary, the results after breast amputations are unsuitable, thousands of women die of metastases 4 years after breast amputations – of which more than 10000 is performed yearly.


Altogether 1-2% of truncating breast cancer operations might be completed by a simultaneous reconstructive procedure in Hungary, while this proportion in the USA or Western Europe exceeds 60% by far.

The life of every 7-10th woman is or will be in danger because of breast cancer in Hungary nowadays. It strikes the age-group of 45-60 the most frequently, but unfortunately we have already seen patients in their ‘20s who died of a late diagnosed breast cancer.

To reduce this risk, it would be advisable, that once a month after her period every woman found 2-3 minutes of time to examine her breast with the fingers of both hands as she was shampooing herself under the shower anyway. It is not the question, what she is feeling, but is it different from the one she was feeling a month before. And if it is different, she should see a specialist (family doctor, gynecologist, surgeon, oncologist, radiologist) who knows what to do and what kind of further examinations she needs!


There are suggestions, methods for procedures with circular and complicated movements in standing and lying positions, which are capable to threaten women who might think this would be something difficult.


The plastic surgeon who performs any aesthetic breast surgery (enlargement, mastopexy, reduction) without any prior imaging (mammography, ultrasound of the breasts) is irresponsible regarding his patients and his work, furthermore he makes his patients to carry an unnecessary and senseless risk.

Dr. Tibor Balajthy