In detail

Breast cancer

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is a serious disease that, instead of diminishing as an occurrence among women, is more widespread in the modern age. It is a rather asymptomatic breast disease, which makes its presence felt only at a rather advanced stage of the disease. This does not mean that he cannot be found. Discover everything you need to know about breast cancer and how to prevent it!

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer begins with the formation of very small tumors that are composed of cancer cells. These are called malignancies. They are also known as nodules.

There are nodules in the breast that are benign, without cancer cells.

These occur especially around and during menstruation when the body of the woman goes through hormonal changes. But sometimes they are malignant or give birth to cancer cells, the risk factors that influence the occurrence of this cancer being significantly present in such people.

What are the causes of breast cancer?

Although not all the causes of this type of cancer are well known or its main cause seems to be that over time several theories have been revealed. However, specialists say that we can talk about risk factors that are essential in its development rather than precise causes. Here are the conditions in which you should be more vigilant when it comes to breast cancer predisposition:

  • if you are Caucasian (breast cancer is more common in this type of race);

  • if you have a medical history with breast cancer (if you have relatives with first degree relatives with breast cancer diagnosis, but also other relatives with further degrees);

  • if you had a child at a young age;

  • if you had your first menstruation too early (early menarha);

  • exposure to estrogen and progesterone (generally following hormone-based medication);

  • the appearance of a lump in the breast (even if it is benign, it should be closely monitored);

  • the older you get, the higher the risk of breast cancer;

  • if you have a predisposing genetic inheritance (changes in the genes that are related to breast cancer);

  • if you have suffered severe injuries to the breast;

  • if you enter menopause very late;

  • if you are above normal weight, especially after menopause;

  • if you have done excessive radiotherapy (especially under the age of 30 to treat various conditions in the breast or abdomen);

  • if you consume large and thick amounts of alcohol (alcohol has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer).

Types of cancer

Breast cancer often develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer can develop in other tissues of the breast and can even cross larger areas of the body. Sometimes it spreads to the lungs, kidneys, liver or bones, but the main source remains the breast, so the diagnosis will be breast cancer.

The most common types of breast cancer are:

  • lobular carcinoma - the one that appears in the lobes, that is in the bulbs that produce milk;

  • ductal carcinoma - the one that appears in ducts (the channels through which the milk passes)

Breast cancer can be inflammatory or recurrent.

  • Inflammatory - so now the name says, it means the presence of inflammatory signs in the breast: local heat, swelling and redness in the affected area; this type of cancer can also be recognized by the fact that the affected area has a slightly itchy appearance (as with chickenpox);

  • Recurrent - it is the type of cancer that recurs, even after its initial treatment; it is not mandatory for him to reappear in the same area as the previous one.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

In the early stage breast cancer is asymptomatic. It is detected only after a thorough medical consultation. As the tumor or tumors develop, there are also some alarm signals that should give you some thought:

  • the appearance of a lump in the breast that persists even after menstruation;

  • swelling at the subsoil;

  • Although the nodules are often painless, there may be some tenderness in the breast and slight discomfort;

  • any changes in the color, shape or texture of the skin of the breast, associated with local pain, should be examined by the doctor;

  • nipple secretions that are usually transparent, bloody or other in color;

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

The first form of prevention of complications, but also of diagnosis of breast cancer, is the breast self-examination. You will feel your breasts every night, after the shower, to detect any nodules. Any formation you feel in the breast should be examined carefully by the doctor.

Medical investigations for the detection of breast cancer consist of:

  • physical examination of the breasts by the doctor;

  • mammography (radiological examination of the breast);

  • biopsy (taking tissue from the node and examining it in the laboratory under a microscope to detect cancer cells).

Physical examination of the breasts by the doctor must be done starting with the age of 20 years from 3 to 3 years, and after 40 years it must be done annually.

Mammography is not recommended for young women, which is why it is made especially for women over 40 years. However, if the woman has high risk factors for breast cancer, mammography is also indicated for women under 40, and should be repeated even annually.

How is breast cancer treated?

It is important to remember and to be aware that this type of cancer is curable. The more it is discovered at an early stage, the greater the chances of healing and avoiding its recurrence. Several methods are currently being used to cure breast cancer:

Surgical treatment

In which malignant tissue is removed and sometimes other tissues around it with the help of lumpectomy. Partial mastectomy is also used to remove the malignant tumor.

Total mastectomy

Removal of the entire mammary gland containing the malignant tumor. This can mean total removal of the affected breast to prevent the spread of cancer cells to other areas of the body. Usually, the breast reconstruction is subsequently used with the help of cosmetic surgery.

radiotherapy

Radiation therapy uses high-intensity X-ray radiation or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells; more types of radiation therapies are used depending on how advanced the cancer is.

chemotherapy

It is the most common form of breast cancer treatment and involves the administration of drugs that stop the growth of cancer cells and stop their regeneration.

Hormone therapy

Treatment to stop the evolution of breast cancer that removes hormones or blocks their action. The malignant tumor can also appear on the hormonal background, which is why keeping them under control can help cancer remission.

There are still other breast cancer therapies at present, but they are only at the clinical trial level and are not approved by the competent bodies for use in patients.

Tags Breast Cancer Women's Health