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What is important to know in the fight against breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that originates from cells of the breast itself. Breasts are composed of lobules, breast glands, connective and fatty tissue, lymph and blood vessels. In lobules are the glands that produce milk and breast glands have ducts that connect the lobules to the nipple. Much of malignant tumors begin in the ducts – ductal cancer or lobules – lobular cancer.
Lymph vessels in the breast lead to lymph vessels, which are located under the arm. They are called axillary lymph nodes. In case that cancer cells reach those nodes and continue to grow, is obtained swelling and inflammation. When breast cancer reach those nodes risk from spreading to other parts of the body increases.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects women. It is the second cause of death in frequency, after lung cancer. Every woman is at risk of developing this insidious disease ..
Causes of Breast Cancer
Is not established the exact cause of development of this type of cancer. However, there are certain risk factors that could cause this disease.
Sex – breast cancer occurs 100 times more often in women than in men, so that the female itself is a risk factor.
Age – the possibility of occurrence of breast cancer increases with age of the woman.
Risk genetic factors – about 10% of women with breast cancer have mutations in certain genes. Women who possess such changes are much more at risk of developing cancer.
Changes in the menstrual cycle – women whose menstruation occurs before the age of 12 years old and those in which Menopause is after the age of 55 have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Family history – malignancies of the breast is more common in women who already have blood relatives who already have the disease. The risk is twice as high in women whose mother, grandmother or sister had cancer.
Radiotherapy in the breast – women who in one way or another occasion have undergone radiation around the chest are at risk for breast cancer.
These risk factors can not be changed by the woman because they are independent of its reasons.
There are also such risk factors that are associated with the way of life. These are:
Taking oral contraceptives – not specifying which component of contraception could play a role in the development of cancer, but studies show that women who use them have a slightly higher risk of developing this type of cancer.
Lack of children – women who have no children or who give birth to their first child after age 30 have an increased risk.
Hormone replacement therapy – fully proven that prolonged hormone therapy slightly increases the probability of developing breast cancer.
Breastfeeding – according to some experts continued breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing breast cancer.
Alcohol – alcohol consumption is associated with a slightly increased risk of formation of malignant tumors in the breast.
Weight – being overweight increases the risk, especially in women whose weight gain has happened with age.
Sport and exercise – according to all studies physical activity and walking reduces the possibility of occurrence of cancer.
Reducing the risk of the disease:
– Overcoming stress;
– Regular exercise;
– Monitor personal weight;
– Reduced consumption of fat.
Symptoms of breast cancer
Signs of the presence of this type of cancer are not specific and may vary widely. Complaints of breast cancer occur in a number of other diseases, such as benign cysts, fibroadenoma and inflammation. The most typical symptoms of breast cancer are:
Lump – represents tightly and nodal entity, which is the first sign of a possible tumor in the breast. The lump may be in any part of the female breast, but most often the tumor is placed in the outer perimeter of the gland. The lump is single and feels like a different tissue. It can be spontaneously painful or causing pain when touching.
Swelling and pain – the pain can be established by any woman. Typically ot is painful and covers only one side of the breast and is not related to the menstrual cycle.
Roughness and irritated skin – this is a classic symptom in which coalescence of the tumor with skin produces its amendment in orange appearance.
Hollowing of the nipple– another typical sign due to tumor growth, in when the nipple is pulled inward. When the nipple is affected by the tumor process occurs pain.
Discharge from the nipple – it is possible that the secret may be stained with blood. Secretion occurs only in the affected breast by the tumor.
Lump in the armpit – lumps and thickening in the lymph nodes in the armpit can be the first symptom of cancer. Shall be established by touching the area.
Diagnosing breast cancer
Early detection of the cancer is the most important precondition for a successful treatment of the disease. The main methods of research include:
Clinical examination of the breasts – consistent review, during which is checked symmetry, shape, size and topography of the breast. Looking for bumps and cave-ins, dilated blood vessels, crusting, pulls.
Ultrasound – a brief test in which the formations were observed in the mammary gland. This method can distinguish cysts from the tumors.
Mammography – this is the most common method for diagnosing breast cancer. Used small dose of X-ray radiation, and to visualize the structures of the gland.
Treatment of breast cancer
Magnetic resonance research is a method that has the highest diagnostic capability, which provides a high contrast between the tissues.
When ultrasound or mammography give information on the pathological area in the area of the gland a biopsy is made. After receiving the results of it is appointed the most appropriate treatment.
Treatment consists in the application of several methods – surgery, radiation and drug therapy.
Surgical treatment is to remove the tumor and axillary lymph nodes. The severity of the operation depends on the size of the tumor and the stage of the disease and various other factors. There are several possibilities for surgery:
Radical mastectomy – during this operation removes the entire breast and lymph nodes. Another way to surgery is that keeps the breast by cutting only the tumor and healthy tissue several centimeters around it. Surgical removal of all lymph nodes is an obligatory part in all kinds of operations of breast cancer.
Radiation therapy is a method that aims to destroy any remaining tumor cells in order not to form a new tumor. It starts as soon as the surgical wound is healed. Negative effects of radiotherapy are nausea, headache, dizziness, flushing, weakness.
Medical therapy is constantly and rapidly developing because there are registeried constantly new drugs for the treatment of tumors in the breast.
Every woman should periodically examine their own breasts to establish the existence of the changes occurring in them. Most of the problems in the breast are detected by women themselves and then, quite by accident. The best period for breast examinations is a week after the menstrual cycle, because the breast tissue is not sensitive and swollen.
The examination is done lying down, using fingertips. The fingers move slowly, with small circular movements. It should be used in different force pressure, to be able to feel the breast tissue. Another method of self-examination is standing with a raised arm.
When lifting the arm fingering the tissue around the armpit. Do not to missed any area from the the breast, because in practice the tumor can occur in any part of the breast. Please have in mind that the article is informative and does not replace consultation with a doctor!