Breast Cancer

How do I know if I have breast cancer? – 2022

breast cancer

How do I know if I have breast cancer?

One of the possible detections of asymptomatic breast cancer is mammography – X-ray examination of the breast.

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Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer | Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


How do I know if I have breast cancer?

One of the possible detections of asymptomatic breast cancer is mammography – X-ray examination of the breast. This is a screening that should be performed by a woman over the age of 50 at least once every 2 years. Mammography is also done to confirm the diagnosis. This happens when a woman goes to the doctor with symptoms already manifested. These may include breast pain or swelling, changes in the shape and size of the breast, redness or peeling of the skin, enlargement of the lymph nodes under the breast, and discharge from the breast.

Should we do ultrasound instead of mammography?

It is not worth. Ultrasound diagnostics can only determine the type of hardening (e.g., whether it is benign) that has been detected by manual examination or mammography. MRI scans of young women are performed for screening in young women. This happens when the risk of breast cancer is high. To assess this, your doctor can look at a genetic factor – whether a patient has a family history of breast, ovarian or cervical cancer.

During the mammogram, the doctor noticed a suspicious hardening. What should I do?

The doctor will order an additional examination. This may be an ultrasound diagnosis of the breast or a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. The course of treatment also depends on the results of these tests.

In addition, there is a genetic platform that determines the probability of mutation in tumor tissue. According to experts, almost 10% of breast cancer cases are due to genetic factors. Doctors recommend that family members of women with a mutation in the BRCA gene undergo genetic testing.

How is the stage of cancer determined?

To do this, specialists usually estimate the size of the primary tumor; It is determined whether it has spread to the lymph nodes located under the esophagus and whether there are metastases to specific organs (e.g., lungs or liver). However, in addition to anatomy, specialists also take into account the biological characteristics of the tumor (how aggressive it is).

What course of treatment does the doctor prescribe?

It depends on the stage and the individual characteristics of the tumor. In the early stages, organ-sparing surgery is most often performed, during which only the damaged part of the breast is removed. In Western Europe, this practice and radiation therapy have a positive result in 60-70% of cases.

A mastectomy is performed relatively infrequently, during which the mammary gland is excised. However, the skin and breasts are preserved at this time, so breast reconstruction is possible. In addition, some patients are prescribed radiation therapy. In each of the above cases, the final decision is made by the surgeon, oncologist and radiologist.

In the second stage of cancer, additional treatment may be prescribed to reduce the risk of metastasis. It can be chemotherapy, biological, hormonal or immunotherapy. However, it all depends on the type of tumor.

In the third stage, treatment, in most cases, begins with chemotherapy. Surgical treatment is then performed. At the next stage, radiation or hormone therapy is prescribed. In the fourth stage of metastatic cancer, the main focus is on the complete elimination of the tumor, reducing the progression of the disease and improving the quality of human life.

How high is the probability of treatment success?

Doctors use a five-year life expectancy to determine the course of treatment for different stages of the disease. In addition, sometimes only the anatomical features of the tumor are considered (size, area of ​​distribution).

If the tumor is only in the breast area, the viability rate is 99%. In breast cancer, when it is also transmitted to the lymph nodes, 85% of patients live to be at least 5 years old. In the case of metastases, this minimum life expectancy is 27%.

However, we must remember that it is impossible to identify specific cases with these data. The prognosis depends on the biology of the tumor, its size, and the number of lymph nodes involved in the process. In addition, even with the spread of metastases, remission of some oncological diseases is possible. Consequently, in the modern world, more and more women are fully living after being diagnosed with breast cancer.


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