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The first mammogram, what should we know?

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in ALL ABOUT CANCER, women's health | Posted on 07-01-2020



According to the Spanish Association Against Cancer, “around 32,825 new breast cancer cases are diagnosed annually in Spain”. With such figures, we believe it is of utmost importance to raise awareness among the society of the importance of research and early diagnosis of breast cancer since it is the most frequent tumour in western women.

For that purpose Dr Fran Fernández, responsible for the Breast Unit at Vithas Xanit International Hospital, explains today what mammography consists of and everything you need to know before making your first mammogram.

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that allows detecting breast lesions before they even give symptoms (palpable lump, retraction of the skin or the areola-nipple complex, bloody discharge from the nipple, lumps in the armpits, etc.).

When should we undergo the first mammogram?

For risk-free patients, it is advisable to start with mammograms at the age of 40, however, the family history should also be taken into account. If there is a history of breast, ovarian, and/or prostate cancer, this test is usually started at the age of 35.

Mammography should be repeated every year or every other year if the results of the previous test came back normal. If you are a patient at risk, the doctor may indicate whether it is necessary to perform this test every six months or combine it with other imaging tests, such as ultrasound or MRI.


Some recommendations to keep in mind before performing a mammogram

  • If you have a very sensitive breast, to avoid pain from the breast compression, it is recommended to perform mammography after the end of menstruation, since the breast is less sensitive because it has less hormonal influence.
  • It’s important not to be afraid. Mammography lasts between 15 and 30 minutes, it is a fast process and carries no risk. Therefore, it is important to be relaxed, since it is a routine test and it does not involve any complications.
  • Try not to wear any metal objects on the day of the screening such as earrings, bracelets, etc., because you will have to remove them for testing.
  • It is also advisable to wear comfortable clothes that are easily taken off, as the chest must be bare for the test.
  • Only in the case of being pregnant could there be a contraindication to take the test because it can pose a risk to the baby, although your doctor will always advise you whether to do it or not.
  • If the patient is in the process of breastfeeding, it is advisable not to perform the mammogram because the breast is anatomically very transformed due to changes that occur during lactation; only in cases of high suspicion of breast cancer the mammogram is indicated.
  • In the case of patients with breast implants, you should be aware that the implants may decrease the sensitivity of the test. In these situations mammography can also be supplemented with ultrasound and resonance imaging.

According to AECC, the most important means for early diagnosis of breast cancer is mammography, and the chances of cure of cancers detected at the initial stage are almost 100%.

That is why it is essential to perform mammography, complemented by self-examination at home.

Breast Cancer Treatments: Mastectomy

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in women's health | Posted on 17-10-2018


This week is World Breast Cancer Day, and we wanted to talk to Dr Fran Fernandez, Head of the Breast Unit at Vithas Xanit International Hospital, about one of the most common treatments for breast cancer – mastectomy. 


We treat cancer in several ways, but one of the most common methods is surgery. There are two types of operation depending on the stage of the disease. If the cancer is detectedin the early stages, the usual way forward would be the conservative surgery, which consists of removing the section of the breast with a tumour in it. In the caseof more advanced stages, the method we use is a mastectomy, which is the surgical act of completely removing a breast.

According to the protocols of preventive diagnosis of breast cancer, the percentage of mastectomy procedures is decreasing thanks to early detection through breast self-examination and radiological tests, depending on patient’s age, past medical and family history. Also, mastectomy can be avoided in those cases when we indicate chemotherapy treatments before the surgery. Experts recommend exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet to reduce risk factors, for a healthy body is more difficult to get sick.


The duration of breast cancer treatment can vary depending on the diagnosisand can range from simple surgery without further treatment, or those cases when the procedure can be prolongedfor up to 5 years. A good family environment is also necessary for a patient’s recovery. It is vital that the patient isadequately informedof the circumstances of their case and the options available. Some patients require the help of a psychologist and support groups, which can also play a vital role throughout the treatment. Besides, the patient can and should perform a physical exerciseto return to normal.


Body imageis a critical psychosocial issue for post-mastectomy patients as they often undergosignificant changesto appearance and functioning. Changes in body image not rarely affect patient’s both intimate and social relationships. Other alterations that may occur are of sexual nature, chronic pain, lymphoedema or psychological sequelae,among others. We are fully aware of the impact post-mastectomy alterations may have on a patient, and we always advise our patients to be psychologically predisposed to overcome obstacles.

Fortunately, major, lethal complications are becoming less frequent. The current survival rate for breast cancer is nearly 85%, but we must continue to insist on early detection and new clinical trials toreduce the remaining 15%.

Multidisciplinary Treatment of Breast Cancer

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in ALL ABOUT CANCER, women's health | Posted on 09-01-2018


Breast cancer is the most common malignant tumour in women and is occurring more frequently at a younger age.

Throughout history there have been many changes in the management of this condition, both in terms of diagnosis and treatment. Developments have led to recovery being achieved in close to 85% of cases. But one of the most significant developments has been the multidisciplinary approach to this condition, which guarantees the most appropriate treatment for each patient according to current scientific standards. Breast cancer should be treated by a multidisciplinary team, specialised in the breast, offering individually tailored treatment in each case.


Multidisciplinary team in the treatment of breast cancer

Dr Fran Fernandez, from the Breast Unit at Vithas Xanit International, explains in this post the role of each of the professionals involved in the multidisciplinary treatment of breast cancer, a key part in the patient’s recovery process.

  • Radiologists, they are fundamental to the whole process as they are “the gateway,” they initiate the whole process of breast cancer diagnosis, performing the necessary tests to arrive at a more accurate diagnosis. They not only play a part, they are essential in the marking of the majority of lesions for later removal in theatre.
  • Pathologists have acquired a distinct role in the last few years, no longer being simply those who confirm malignant disease, but those who perform diagnostic tests and provide reports with the great amount of information required to offer the most appropriate treatment for each patient.
  • Nuclear medicine physicians play a major role in our theatres for important sentinel node localisation, a technique which has prevented innumerable cases of axillary emptying and its subsequent problems. They work with the radiologists using other investigations focused on diagnosis, of great use in the management of breast cancer.
  • Gynaecologists are active participants at the very beginning of the process with screening of asymptomatic patients, detecting possible abnormalities during their examination.
  • Medical oncologists and radiation oncologists are another critical link in the chain. They are responsible for administering chemotherapy treatment or prescribing radiotherapy, both before and after surgery, to help shrink tumours and promote a higher cure rate with comprehensive treatment of the disease. They are also those responsible for research and better understanding of the disease, participating in the multiple research studies required to learn more about the disease and therefore improve treatment where possible.
  • The plastic surgeon, aesthetic appearance is also crucial, participation of the plastic surgeon is therefore essential to improve results.
  • The general surgeon, who in this case serves as a common link to the whole team, manages the patient’s journey in the agreed manner from the moment presented at the committee, deciding on technical aspects of the surgery when required.


Vithas Xanit Oncology Committee

The cases of patients who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer are presented weekly at the Oncology Committee. The committee’s radiologists, pathologists, medical and radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians and surgeons decide together on the best treatment option for each, individual patient. From that point on, a multidisciplinary decision is taken in the same Oncology Committee regarding any new circumstance that may patient may develop. Thus, results following surgery, the end of treatment or any other incident result in further discussion of the case to ensure the best decision is made.

A multidisciplinary team provided for the patient, it achieves its objective: the complete recovery and rehabilitation of the patient, in 85% of cases. Prevention and regular mammograms are also an essential part of effective treatment.

Intimate hygiene tips for summer sports

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in women's health | Posted on 25-09-2017


Intimate hygiene tips sports

Women are becoming more and more concerned about their health and personal care, now that summer has arrived, increased enjoyment of sports has added to the equation. Sport improves mood, increases respiratory capacity and brings numerous health benefits… It therefore plays an important role not only in preserving well-being and preventing disease and injury, but also in improving self-image.

Thus summer is a key time for exercising body and mind, with the number of people participating in sporting activities increased; but exercise needs to be performed differently to during winter in order to prevent problems such as heat stroke and infection.

With this in mind, one factor which concerns women most when playing sports is intimate hygiene. Dr Esperanza Martín, Head of the Gynaecology Department at Vithas Xanit International Hospital, provides some straight forward tips for personal, intimate hygiene during and after sporting activities.

Importance of intimate feminine hygiene when practising sports

Maintenance of appropriate, intimate hygiene helps to prevent gynaecological conditions, including infections. The following is helpful advice:

  • Change tampons every two to three hours.
  • Use soap which is appropriate for intimate hygiene, soap which preserves the acidic pH of the vulval and perineal area and which cleans efficiently but hydrates, helping to prevent infections.
  • Do not use vaginal douches as they alter the protective balance of the vagina and can push germs towards the uterus.
  • Dry with a towel which is for personal use only and keep it clean.
  • Do not use panty liners daily. Only use them when really necessary as they increase humidity in the vulval area which can lead to infections.
  • Do not stay in a damp swimsuit after sporting activities in the pool; wash it at the end of the activity as dampness can lead to urinary infections.
  • Do not use intimate deodorant.
  • Use unperfumed hygienic wipes with no additives which may irritate.
  • Wash hands before and after going to the bathroom.
  • Attend medical check-ups and gynaecological check-ups regularly.

Follow these simple recommendations when practising sports and intimate hygiene will not be a problem this summer. Now there is no excuse for not exercising the body…. or the mind.

Tips and recommendations for exercise during summer

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in women's health | Posted on 22-09-2017


recommendations for exercise

In the summer months our bodies have to cope with high temperatures. It’s the time of year when playing sports or doing any form of exercise can pose a much greater challenge. Today, Dr Gomez Doblas, Head of the Heart Centre at Vithas Xanit International Hospital answers some of our most common queries regarding exercising during summer, and provides a few tips to allow us to play sport without risking our health at this time of year.

What time is it best to exercise?

In summer we should avoid the hottest time of day. The ideal time is first thing in the morning or in the late evening. The ideal time, and probably the freshest time of day, is between 7:30 and 9 am.

What type of clothing is recommended for summer exercise?

It is important to wear lightweight, light coloured, clothing to reflect the heat. Cotton clothes can also help with evaporation of perspiration. It is possible to buy clothes at specialist shops which are specifically designed to avoid the heat. Also if playing sport in the sun it is very important to apply sunscreen.

How are dehydration and heat stroke avoided?

This is straight forward, drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise. Drinking water at regular intervals, even when not thirsty, is recommended.  It is important not only to replace water but also to replace the electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which we lose through perspiration. Drinks containing electrolytes, which have been specially designed for drinking whilst active, are ideal. If it is very sunny it is important to cover your head with a cap or similar. When exercising the best advice is to look for areas which are in the shade. If there are high levels of pollution, as can happen in some large cities, sporting activities should be avoided.

What type of exercise is advisable during summer?

Aerobic exercise is always best, especially when it is very hot. It is essential to avoid high risk activities such as mountaineering at this time, the heat can cause dizziness which may lead to a fall and severe injury.

Nutrition, another thing to bear in mind…

A balanced diet including a high intake of fruit and vegetable is essential. Eating only a small amount prior to exercise is recommended whilst maintaining fluid intake with drinks such as natural fruit juices. Eating foods which contain electrolytes such as potassium and sodium is also advisable, fruits, such as bananas, can provide us with these.

There is no reason not to exercise during summer, but it should always be in moderation, early in the day and with the necessary equipment. Remember to always take a bottle of water!

Key information for adequate nutrition during pregnancy and breast feeding

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in women's health, Xanit salud | Posted on 10-06-2015



Pregnancy and breast feeding are two very important stages in a womans life. These produce a series of pysiological changes which mean that the woman must pay more attention to her diet. Good nutrition during this period results in a multitude of benefits both for the mother and for the baby in the long term. It is vital to maintain a balanced diet, eating little and often throughout the day (4-5 times), and eating a variety of foods.  It is also important to use healthier cooking methods (boiling, steaming, grilling) and to avoid excess fats (frying).

During these stages the woman requires an increased amount of certain nutrients such as: calcium, folic acid, iron, proteins, and in general higher energy foods (between 250- 500 calories extra). In many cases ensuring that these nutritional requirements are covered without having to increase calories intake is difficult. Therefore it is recommended that the woman is advised by a nutritionist. It is not a case of increasing portion size, but a case of adequately selecting the correct foods. For example, during this phase it is fundamental to increase the consumption of wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables, root vegetables, and pulses. It is important to reduce oil and fat, particularly animal fats.  (sausages, fatty meats, full fat dairy products).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that women follow a healthy diet during pregnancy because in recent years it has been proven that adequate nutrition during the pregnancy and breast feeding stage has positive effects on the baby, both in the short and long term.  It also prevents important problems such as infections, and reduces the risk of the baby developing diabetes and other metabolic related conditions during their lifetime. Adequate nutrition also improves the babys immune system.

Within the Endocrinology and Nutrition Unit at Vithas Xanit International Hospital there are dieticians who can assess the patient and give them a personalised diet plan. Furthermore, we offer a Service based on the WhatsApp platform which allows the patient to have live, direct contact with a dietician, and to resolve their questions in an instant. This unit is also specialised in dietary disorders such as thyroid problems, diabetes, obesity, and increased lipids, amongst other illnesses. The hospital also has a medical team who care for patients with aflictions of the endocrine system. These pathologies, although less frequent, require highly specialised studies such as hypothalamus, hypophysis, para thyroid glands, and the adrenal and gonads of both sexes.

Dr. Diego Fernández

Nutritionist at Vithas Xanit International Hospital

I Love Respectful Childbirth

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in women's health | Posted on 20-02-2013

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Being pregnant is a particularly special experience for every woman who becomes a mother.  Nonetheless, though the role of the mother-to-be is obvious during pregnancy, unfortunately too often the importance of her role in the birth of the baby is not appreciated to the same degree.  Each couple anticipates the arrival of their child eagerly, but the birth can provoke uncertainty and/or anxiety as well.  The process of having a baby requires so much preparation and entails such important changes that here at Xanit International Hospital, we believe that it should be treated with particular care and respect.

The skilled, professional team of caregivers at Xanit International Hospital aims to create a childbirth experience where the woman is the main protagonist.  We want to allow each woman to take an active role in her birth experience—for it to be a personal and irreplaceable occurrence.  We provide education for mothers, and, in addition, personalized advice is available from our staff, so that everyone can decide for themselves how to best organize their childbirth preparation. We firmly believe that each birth is a unique, unrepeatable experience, and as a result our caregivers are happy to hear out all your proposals and desires, while ensuring the health of both mother and child.  We love respectful childbirth!

Every time a woman gives birth, it is an unparalleled event for both her and her partner, as well as for everyone else involved. It is a moment when the couple should feel free to express any expectations, desires, or fears they may have. At Xanit International Hospital, you can be sure that our gynecologists, midwives, and pediatricians will all respect the decisions you make and that, consequently, they will offer you a variety of options in order to adapt themselves to each couple and situation.

At Xanit International Hospital, we want to actively participate in the revival of respect for childbirth in all its dimensions. As recommended by the World Health Organization, we promote skin-to-skin contact, uninterrupted mother-infant interaction upon birth (rather than separation of mother and baby), and breastfeeding as early as possible.

However, we want to take our efforts further. We would like to share our respect for your decisions. As a result, we ask all mothers who are active on the web to help us spread our message. If you, too, believe that childbirth should be respectful, you can download our “I love respectful childbirth” badge, which is placed at the right side of our blog. Help this message reach other mothers so that everyone can understand that you, as a mother, as a woman, are the one who decides what your birth experience will be!  Join us in our efforts to advocate respectful childbirth!

Related posts:

La salud de la mujer: el plan de parto

Dra. Esperanza Martín,

Head of the Gynecological Service at Xanit International Hospital