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Breast cancer: Prevention, diagnosis, treatment


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News so tragic, such as the recent death of the well-known Olympian Alexandros Nikolaidis from cancer, fills us with sadness for the young man who left, for the fight that was fought but not won, for his family and loved ones who were left behind and must learn to they live with the loss.

A rare tumor, a difficult-to-treat neoplasm, despite the fact that it was faced with the greatness of the athlete’s soul and the concerted efforts of an excellent oncology team that tried to do everything, unfortunately prevailed, definitively stopping a course that was brilliant and left its imprint, not only in Greece, but also all over the world.

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“As a person who has lost loved ones to the disease, as the President of the Scientific Society of Oncological Pathologists of Greece and as a medical oncologist, who fights every day with patients and their families, I cannot help but be concerned, especially at times like this, where pain and death get so much publicity. I wish and hope that we all got the right message from this publicity, the one that the athlete himself implies in his last words. That our society needs to not treat cancer as a taboo. It is necessary when we hear this word not to be afraid, but to mobilize towards prevention and early diagnosis, towards correct and valid information, from doctors who know, in centers that have the necessary expertise and can offer solutions. It is necessary to improve the care of cancer patients in our country, through the improvement of the health structures that deal with this disease.

The rarity of the specific tumor should not make us imagine that all rare cancers have this outcome or that cancer is an event that does not concern us. Nor should it impress us more than some other numbers that oncologists deal with every day, those concerning new diagnoses of other, more common cancers such as breast, lung, colon, prostate, melanoma, pancreas. Very high numbers, which, however, would be 50% lower if we all followed some simple good habits, such as proper diet and exercise, vaccination, avoiding alcohol, smoking and sun exposure, which , in fact, we should combine it with prevention through the performance of specific preventive examinations”, says Ms. Zenia Saridaki-Zora, MD, PhD, Pathological Oncologist, Director of the First Oncology Clinic of the Metropolitan Hospital, President of the Society of Oncological Pathologists of Greece ( EOPE).

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What preventive tests should be done and how Every woman from the age of 40 and over should undergo a mammogram and breast ultrasound (or breast MRI if this is deemed necessary, especially in cases of hereditary predisposition). Every woman and every man should have a colonoscopy starting at age 45 and older. Smokers or ex-smokers should undergo a low-radiation chest x-ray every year. Also, the PSA test and transrectal ultrasound are necessary for men, the gynecological examination and the HPV DNA test or the Papanicolaou test for women.
Undoubtedly, a key element of screening and successful prevention is the correct performance and interpretation of these tests.

It is not enough for someone to conduct an examination. It must be performed in centers with reliable machines, with specialized doctors who can interpret it with clarity, precision and correctness. And these centers must be able to offer the best possible therapeutic approach and treatment, under the guidance of specialist doctors, with respect for the patient and his family, with humanity and quality.

Parameters, the importance of which, many people overlook, while these are exactly what ensure the maximum benefit from the examination, i.e. the guaranteed timely and correct diagnosis. And in cancer, as in so many other diseases, it is early diagnosis that leads to cure and complete treatment, with huge success rates in the majority of cases.

The oncologist is both the navigator physician, the one who will guide his patients in the best possible way, but also the central physician, the one who will make the treatment decisions and the responsibility of these decisions, without fear but with empathy and faith.

“The good news about all of the above is that we as oncologists and patients are living in a new, exciting era. Combinations of classical hormonal therapies and chemotherapy with new innovative, targeted drugs, monoclonal antibodies, but also immunotherapies have succeeded in increasing the cure rates and, in many cases, even turning the metastatic disease into a chronic disease. And the future looks more and more promising for the patients and their families, but also for us, who fight the struggle of life by their side every day”, concludes Mrs. Saridaki-Zora.

She writes:

Ms. Zenia Saridaki-Zora, MD, PhD, Pathological Oncologist, Director of the First Oncology Clinic of the Metropolitan Hospital,

President of the Society of Oncological Pathologists of Greece (EOPE)

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