Breast cancer is a disease in which cancerous (or malignant) cells develop uncontrollably in the breast tissue (usually in ducts - tubes that carry milk to the nipple - or in the lobules - the milk producing glands). It is the most common type of cancer seen in women and the leading cause of death.
Types of breast cancer
Breast cancer is often classified into two types: non-invasive and invasive.
Non-invasive breast cancer or in situ carcinoma carcinoma is located in the breasts of the breast. It can not be detected at the palpation of the breast, but in a mammogram.
Invasive breast cancer extends beyond the breast. The most common form of breast cancer is invasive ductal breast cancer, which develops in the cells of the ducts.
Other types of breast cancer include invasive lobular breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer and Paget's breast disease. Unfortunately, invasive breast cancer can spread to other areas of the body.
An exact cause of this type of cancer is unknown. Studies show that older age and female hormones play an important role in the development of this type of cancer. It is common in women over 50 years of age.
It's hard to tell why some women can develop breast cancer and others do not. There are risk factors which you can change, but some in front of whom you can not do anything.
Age - 8 out of 10 women can have breast cancer after their 50th birthday.
Family history - if there are family-related cases, relatives of grade one and two, the risk of developing this type of cancer is very high.
Previous breast cancer or diagnosis - if you have previously had breast cancer or non-invasive cancer cell changes in the mammary ducts, or certain types of nodules may increase the risk of developing cancer.
Breast density - Women who have more dense breast tissue may have a higher risk of developing this disease.
First menstruation at an early age (less than 12 years old)
Radiotherapy for breasts or chest
Older age at first childbirth
Overweight and obesity
Diet rich in fat
The most common symptom is the detection of a painless nodule at the breast or axle.
Other symptoms include changes in breast shape and size, changes in the skin of the breasts (stains or creases), nipple leakage, nipple changes (either retracing or inversion), scarring in the nipple, etc.
Breast self examination
Each woman must be aware of the importance of breast self-examination, an important way to detect the disease at an early stage. Breast self examination should be part of the weekly routine. The more accurate you examine, the better you get to know your body and you will immediately find any changes in your breasts and axils.
Examine for periods of your menstrual cycle, when the breasts are less painful and less touch-sensitive. If you feel a strong nodule or texture of a pile of sand, go to the doctor for a specialist consultation.
After examining your breasts, your doctor may ask you to perform one or more tests and procedures as follows:
Mammography - At the age of 40, go annually or once every two years for this radiological breast exploration
Ultrasound - Women under 40 have breasts with higher density, so mammography is not relevant in establishing the diagnosis. An ultrasound will show any present node or anomaly.
Biopsy - Harvesting a sample of breast tissue and testing it in the laboratory to see if it certifies the existence of cancer cells or not. A biopsy can also be performed on the lymph nodes in the axilla to see if they were affected or not. Also in the biopsy category: 1) needle aspiration - which can test a mammary cell sample to detect cancer, but also to drain a benign cyst; 2) puncture - a tissue sample is collected from the breast nodule; 3) Vacuum-assisted biopsy
Computed Tomography (CT)
Other common laboratory tests include blood counts and blood biochemical analyzes (such as transaminases), CA 15-3 and CEA tumor markers.