Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, with 36.000 new cases and 11.0000 deaths a year in Italy. Even if in Sicily the incidence is lower, it represents the first cause of death among women (17% of cancer deaths).
The test employed for breast cancer screening is mammography, that is a radiography in which each breast is rested one at a time on a flat surface and radiographed, both horizontally and vertically, with a slight compression. The exam is not painful and there are no health risks, since very low doses of radiations are emitted.
Mammography is the most effective test to diagnose breast tumors at an early stage, because it allows to detect very small (non palpable and asymptomatic) lesions which, if necessary, can be removed with minimally invasive surgical treatment, thus trying to preserve the esthetic aspect while improving the quality of life.
Breast cancer screening, in operation in Palermo since 2004, has made it possible to diagnose more than 500 tumors.
Palermo ASP offers the opportunity to have a bilateral mammography every two years to each woman aged between 50 and 69, free of charge.
Women in the target age group receive a letter which invites them to go to one of the ‘ASP’ Screening Centres. By calling Numero Verde, it is possible to reschedule the appointment or have additional information.
Following a strict protocol, the mammogram is evaluated with a ‘double-blind’ reading, by two experienced radiology doctors independently of each other.
In case of doubts or disagreement between the two radiology doctors in the interpretation of the images, the woman is called to do further tests.
In most cases, this does not necessarily mean the presence of a tumor, but it is an indication to do in-depth exams (ecography, breast visit, cytologic test, biopsy, etc) in order to exclude it.
All the exams are free of charge and do not require medical prescriptions.
The exam images remain the property of the ASP. For clinical reasons, however, it is possible to ask for copies (upon medical motivated request).
For further information see the site Gruppo Italiano Screening Mammella: gisma