The mammary glands consist of three main tissue types adipose, connective and glandular. Breast cancer is called a malignant tumor developing from cells of the glandular tissue. Contrary to popular belief, breast cancer is ill, both women and men, but in women, it occurs much more frequently.
“The results of the breast ultrasound showed a mass suspicious for cancer”, “The results of your mammogram do not allow to definitely exclude the presence of malignant tumors”, “Biopsy showed the presence of cancerous changes in the breast, and requires extended observation” – are just a few of the most frightening diagnoses that a woman can hear from your doctor.
Causes of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer develops as well as any other malignant tumor in the body. One or more cells of the glandular tissue as a result of mutation abnormally quickly begin to share. Of them formed a tumor is able to grow into the surrounding tissue and establish secondary tumor lesions (metastases).
Most often, mammary tumors develop from the cells of the milk ducts — in this case, doctors say about ductal breast cancer or ductal carcinoma. Quite often malignant tumors grow from the cells of the lobules of the breast, this type of cancer is called invasive lobular carcinoma. It should be noted that tumor growth is possible and from other cells of the glandular tissue.
Breast Cancer – Risk Factors
Unfortunately, complete information on the causes of breast cancer scientists yet. There is a list of risk factors that affect the probability of occurrence of the tumor, however, some disease is diagnosed in the absence of these factors, while others remain healthy in the presence of many of them. However, scientists still attribute the development of breast cancer causes:
- old age;
- use of hormonal drugs;
- injury of the breast;
- a history of breast cancer;
- diagnosed with breast cancer someone from the family;
- radiation, e.g., radiation therapies to treat other types of cancer;
- early menstruation and later menopause;
- the absence of children or late (after 35 years) first birth;
- smoking and alcohol abuse;
- work on schedule with night shifts.
Proved that the most common genetic causes of breast cancer are mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. Carriers of the BRCA1 mutation have a risk of cancer of the breast 55-65%, and BRCA2 carriers is 45%.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Often in the early stages of breast cancer are asymptomatic. But in some cases, the signs indicating the presence of the disease is still there, and they can be seen.
First and foremost, the symptoms that should alert include seals in the breast, near them or in the armpit. 9 times out of 10 seals are benign, however, to establish this is certainly possible only on examination by a mammologist.
Self-check the Breasts for the presence of nodules or any other changes once a month, after menstruation. Home diagnosis it is most convenient to hold while bathing or under the shower. Any changes detected, should as soon as possible to tell the doctor.
Main symptoms of Breast Cancer:
- Hardening skin
- Retraction skin
- Erosion of the skin
- Nipple discharge
- Deformation of the breast by type ripple
- Swelling of the skin
- Increase in the size of the veins
- Retraction of the nipple
- Symmetry breaking of the mammary glands
- Symptom lemon peel
- Palpable node within the breast.
70% of cases of breast cancer are detected by patients themselves in the result of breast self-examination.
When these symptoms and any other changes in the breast (for example, unusual or painful sensations) you should immediately consult a doctor.
Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
To confirm or exclude the diagnosis in the first place is a manual breast exam. Then, in case of suspicion or as a screening procedure, may be appointed as mammography, x-ray examination of the breast. Generally, women under 35 years of its implementation is not recommended in young breast tissue is particularly sensitive to radiation exposure.
Ultrasonography of the breast allows to evaluate the structure of their tissue and to distinguish, for example, a tumor from a cyst filled with fluid.
If the results of your mammogram or ultrasound indicate the presence of tumors in the breast, the doctor usually appoints a biopsy, a laboratory test of a sample of tissue from the breast. Biopsy helps determine whether a tumor is malignant, and to determine its type and stage. In addition, the study of biopsy material gives the answer to the question whether the tumor is hormone-dependent, which also affects the treatment regimen.
If necessary, may use other diagnostic techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
After diagnosis the main task of the physician is to determine the stage of the cancer, what is the size of the tumor, its location, presence of metastases, and aggressiveness. From these factors also determine the treatment prognosis and selection of optimal therapies. As a rule, to clarify the stage of blood tests, mammography, other breast cancer, a bone scan, and a computer or positron emission tomography. In some cases to determine the stage of the tumor is possible only during the operation.
Breast Cancer Treatment
Strategy for the treatment of breast cancer depends on many factors — type of cancer, stage, the sensitivity of tumor cells to hormones and also overall health of the patient.
Surgery – primary method of treatment for breast cancer. If the disease has been diagnosed at an early stage, the surgeon may perform a lumpectomy, removing the tumor tissues and a small portion of surrounding healthy tissue. When larger tumors of the mammary gland is completely removed (this operation is called a mastectomy), as well as coming to her lymph nodes. If the physician’s assessment of the risk of developing cancer in the second breast is quite high, the patient may be recommended removing both Breasts at once.
Radiation therapy (that is, the effect on the tumor to ionizing radiation) in breast cancer, usually used after surgery. Therapy is conducted with the aim of destroying cancer cells that might remain in the body.
Chemotherapy, that is, the use of chemical agents that kill cancer cells can be conducted after surgery to remove the tumor, and radiation therapy. In some cases, chemotherapy is carried out before surgery in order to reduce the size too large for removal of the tumor.
In cancer clinics for the treatment of breast cancer used the most modern, original European and American chemotherapy. Good cancer clinics have the opportunity to make a “molecular fingerprint” of the tumor, to choose on the basis of his analysis of the most effective and safe combination of drugs.
Hormone therapy — it includes several different methods that stop the production of hormones in the body or blocking their flow to the tumor. Hormonal therapy reduces the risk of tumor recurrence and, in case of detection of inoperable tumors, helps control its growth.
Targeted therapy — drugs that come directly to the tissues of the tumor and minimally affecting healthy cells. Targeted therapy is used either alone or in combination with other treatment methods, depending on which scheme is best suited to the patient.
The combination of existing cancer treatment methods breast cancer allows in most cases to achieve remission of the disease or at least prolong life with the preservation of its quality. However, it should be remembered that the effectiveness of treatment generally depends on whether treatment is started promptly, that is in the early stages of the disease.