Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Breast cancer is a serious disease with around 264,000 cases diagnosed in women and 2,400 cases in men each year. And, unfortunately, each year about 42,000 women and 500 men die from this disease.
Table of Contents
Today we will tell you in short what breast cancer is and its symptoms, the importance of an early detection, what are the prevention methods and the risk factors.
What is breast cancer?
In general, cancer is the accelerated and uncontrolled growth of cells considered malignant, which hinder benign cells, and displace cells that do work. In breast cancer, the same happens; uncontrolled cell growth, which secretes substances that damage healthy cells.
Breast cancer types
There are several types of breast cancer. Most of these cancers are carcinomas; tumors that arise from epithelial cells that line tissues throughout the body. In the case of the breast, the carcinomas are adenocarcinomas and usually begin in the cells of the milk ducts, or milk-producing glands.
Breast cancer can be invasive or non-invasive which can also be called breast cancer in situ (ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS). This type of cancer begins in the milk ducts and does not grow beyond the rest of the breast tissue. For its part, invasive or infiltrating breast cancer is one that has spread to the surrounding breast tissues.
Other breast cancers are less common and, unfortunately, more difficult to treat, such as triple negative cancer, inflammatory cancer, Paget’s disease of the nipple, phyllodes tumors, and angiosarcoma.
Breast cancer symptoms
- Lumps in the breast or under the arm
- Increase in the thickness of a part of the breast
- Irritation or dipping in the skin of the breast or nipple
- Breast or nipple redness or scaling
- Discharging from the nipple a milky substance or blood
- Pain or change in shape in any part of the breast
Caution! Women often have no symptoms or signs of breast cancer, and herein lies the importance of early detection of breast cancer. By doing frequent checkups, changes in cells can be detected in the early stages to give timely and more effective treatment against cancer.
Breast cancer: Early detection methods
Breast cancer screening is an examination of the breasts for cancer signs or symptoms before the disease appears. The methods of early detection of breast cancer are:
Clinical breast exam
The clinical examination consists of a general doctor or a gynecologist review in order to detect lumps, burning areas, inflammation or any other abnormality in the breast.
Women and men should be familiar with how their breasts look and feel to the touch in order to detect lumps, flaking, redness, pain, or any other changes. It should be noted that women experience changes in the breasts in periods such as menstruation, pregnancy, lactation and menopause, so self-exam will also help to better understand the body and know which changes are normal.
Mammography is the best method of early detection of breast cancer. It consists of breasts x-rays to detect changes in the cells, which can be so small that they do not cause symptoms nor felt by a touching screening. In general, it is recommended to have a mammogram every 3 years in women between the ages of 25 and 39 or with a family history of breast cancer, and every 2 years between the ages of 40 and 49. After age 50, or after menopause, an annual mammogram is recommended.
MRI is a test that uses radio waves to take pictures of the breasts and is recommended for women at high risk of breast cancer.
Risk factors for developing breast cancer
- Being over 50 years old
- Having family history of breast cancer
- Suffering from atypical hyperplasia, benign disease of the breast
- Having presented the first menstruation before the age of 12
- Having menopause or abnormal drop in estrogen levels
- Not having had children
- Not having breastfed
- Use of oral contraceptives
What to do when diagnosed with breast cancer?
If you were diagnosed with breast cancer, first of all, we recommend you stay calm and follow the instructions of the cancer specialist: the oncologist. Currently there are many treatments to fight cancer and win the battle.
At NewCity Medical Plaza we want to reach out to you and invite you to visit our facilities. We have a specialist´s directory where you will find oncologists in Tijuana with great experience and success in cancer treatments, at lower prices compared to the United States.
Contact us for more information through the WhatsApp button. We are ready to assist you!