Breast cancer: symptoms, causes, treatments, and the importance of prevention

Breast cancer is one of the cancers that most affects women, it develops in the mammary glands and occurs in the form of nodules of variable size. It is important to know breast cancer in all its aspects, from the causes to the symptoms of the disease, up to the possible treatments and above all the great importance of prevention. Precisely in view of prevention, essential for early diagnosis, it is always advisable to perform breast cancer from time to time.

Breast self-examination: how is it done?

Before talking about breast cancer specifically, we want to focus on a fundamental aspect: prevention. All doctors emphasize that prevention and early diagnosis are very important and it is good that you know that the very first step in prevention is self-examination. It consists of a massage-self-examination that you can perform on your breasts, following the gestures shown in this one. video.

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What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that develops in the cells of the mammary glands. If it is not diagnosed and treated quickly, the mass formed by the cancer cells can swell and create metastases, then spreading to the rest of the body. Breast cancer is the most common among women, as we said, and mainly affects women over the age of 50, while it occurs more rarely in women under the age of 30.

Breast cancer: symptoms to watch out for

Periodic self-examination of the breasts is essential to learn to identify any anomalies or small lumps on your own. If you feel your breasts often enough, say once every 2 or 3 months, you will notice any changes right away, and this will help you a lot in case of problems. If, during breast palpation, you feel a hard, painless lump with indefinite contours, it is best to see a doctor right away, as this is one of the most obvious symptoms of breast cancer. The gynecologist or specialist will certainly recommend a mammogram, capable of identifying any form of cancer, even a very small one. Skin changes, redness or nipple discharge are also symptoms that should not be underestimated.

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The causes of breast cancer

At the moment the exact causes of breast cancer are not known, however numerous risk factors have been identified that can accelerate the development of the cancer, and are mainly hereditary or genetic factors, and environmental factors, due to lifestyles and daily behaviors . Here are the main causes:

  • a first pregnancy aged 40 and over
  • breast injuries at risk
  • early menstruation (before 11-12 years)
  • animal fats
  • hereditary or genetic factors (such as a recurrence of a previous breast cancer)
  • hormone replacement treatments prescribed with menopause

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The importance of early diagnosis

Early diagnosis is the only really effective weapon to attack the tumor in its bud. Since the tumors that heal more easily are those less than one centimeter in size, it is of fundamental importance to diagnose each type of cancer in time. Today there are programs. controls that aim to diagnose the tumor as soon as possible to stop its development and increase the cure rate and women over 50 can and must undergo a free mammogram every 2 years. The most effective prevention method, as anticipated before, is breast self-examination, and your doctor can teach you how to do it too.

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The treatments, from surgery to chemotherapy

The treatments and cures carried out depend on the stage of the tumor at the time it is diagnosed. There are in fact local treatments, carried out on the tumor itself, and systemic treatments, to block any metastases through chemotherapy. Surgery and radiotherapy are local treatments, while chemotherapy involves the whole body. In most cases, surgery is used. When this is the case, there are two possibilities: mastectomy, which consists in the total removal of the diseased breast if the tumor is widespread, or tumorectomy, which allows the tumor to be removed while preserving the breast and which is performed when the tumor it is still small. Patients who have to undergo total breast removal can benefit from breast augmentation, i.e. breast reconstruction. Radiation therapy is a complementary treatment to surgery and is performed on the breast to reduce the risk of recurrence through high-energy radiation. Chemotherapy is used as a pre or post-operative treatment, or as a treatment in its own right, especially to prevent or contain any metastases, that is, the spread of cancer cells to the rest of the body.

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