Breast Cancer

The most common symptoms of breast cancer – 2022

breast cancer

The most common symptoms of breast cancer

In other cases, the first sign of breast cancer is the appearance of a lump in the breast, which a woman or doctor found on palpation of the breast.

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Early Signs of Breast Cancer


Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women worldwide. 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer are registered each year, and more than 522,000 women die from the disease. In the United States, the incidence of breast cancer is 300 thousand, in Europe – 458 thousand cases. In Ukraine, the incidence of breast cancer ranks 1st among all malignant tumors found in women. In 2016, 137,987 patients were registered in Ukraine with an oncologist for breast cancer.

Risk factors for breast cancer:

  • heredity, the presence of breast cancer in close relatives;
  • genetic mutations (BRCA 1, BRCA 2);
  • the presence of benign breast diseases;
  • early onset (up to 12 years) of the menstrual cycle and late menopause (after 55 years);
  • late first childbirth or no childbirth;
  • absence or late onset of sexual activity;
  • irregular sex life;
  • estrogen replacement therapy in the postmenopausal period;
  • long-term use of hormonal contraceptives;
  • transferred breast cancer or other cancer;
  • smoking. Cigarette smoke contains many chemical compounds that cause cancer, one of these substances is benzene, a toxic and carcinogenic substance,
  • one of the causes of the appearance and reproduction of cancer cells;
  • alcohol consumption;
  • obesity, diabetes;
  • hypothyroidism;
  • tumors of the uterus, cysts, ovarian tumors;
  • ionizing radiation;
  • insufficient physical activity.

The most common symptoms of breast cancer:

Unfortunately, in the early stages of the disease may be asymptomatic. The tumor can be too small for any sensations in women, in which case the tumor is often an accidental finding during a preventive examination.

In other cases, the first sign of breast cancer is the appearance of a lump in the breast, which a woman or doctor found on palpation of the breast.

Symptoms of breast cancer:

  • skin changes or skin involvement of the breast;
  • ulcer, discoloration of the nipple or breast;
  • thickening of the nipple or breast skin;
  • discharge from the nipple, except for breast milk;
  • nipple pain or nipple retraction;
  • reduction of one of the mammary glands in size;
  • the appearance of a tumor (enlarged lymph nodes) in the axillary region.


All currently known diagnostic methods are aimed at establishing and confirming / excluding the diagnosis, clarifying the type of tumor (histology) and the extent of the disease (stage).

Basic diagnostic methods:

  • palpation of the mammary glands and lymph nodes;
  • Ultrasound of the mammary glands and lymph nodes;
  • mammography (from 35 years);
  • tumor biopsy followed by histological and immunohistochemical examination;
  • cytological examination of the secretion of the mammary glands (in the case of discharge from the nipple);
  • X-ray examination of the chest;
  • Ultrasound of the abdominal cavity and pelvis;
  • computed tomography (CT) of the chest, abdomen with intravenous contrast. With the help of special X-ray techniques and the use of a contrast agent
  • (Triombrast), images of the body are performed in various projections. This study allows you to determine the presence or absence of tumors, as well as to
  • clarify the prevalence of the process;
  • determining the presence of BRCA1 or BRCA mutations;
  • general, biochemical (ALT, AST, total / direct bilirubin, creatinine, LDH, urea, total protein) blood tests, coagulogram, general urine test;
  • when planning surgical treatment, blood tests for hepatitis B, C, as well as Wasserman’s reaction (test for syphilis) are mandatory;
  • blood group, rhesus factor;
  • Ultrasound of the heart (Echo-cardioscopy);
  • electrocardiogram;
  • fibroesophagogastroscopy.


With a confirmed diagnosis of “breast cancer” it is necessary to consider the case with a multidisciplinary team consisting of an oncologist, oncologist and radiation therapist. The choice of treatment tactics depends on the diagnosed stage of the tumor. In addition, the patient’s age, general condition, comorbidities are taken into account.

Basic treatments for breast cancer

  • Surgical. The volume and type of operation depend on the location of the tumor in the breast, its size, tumor growth form and stage of the disease;
    • in the early stages of the location of the tumor in the external parts of the breast may perform organ-sparing operations (removal of part of the breast);
    • with a large tumor size, the presence of several tumor foci, detection in the edges of the resection of tumor cells is a complete removal of the breast (mastectomy);
    • mastectomy can be performed without or with breast reconstruction (implant placement instead of removed breast).
    • prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction may be offered to women at very high risk (presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations);

when performing radical surgical treatment (complete removal of the tumor) of the breast, be sure to remove the lymph nodes (lymph dissection) of possible areas of metastasis;

  • chemotherapeutic. During chemotherapy, the patient is administered antitumor drugs that have a destructive and inhibitory effect on cancer cells;
    • preoperative chemotherapy (neoadjuvant). It is performed to reduce the size of the tumor so that it can be easily removed.
    • postoperative chemotherapy (adjuvant). Carried out to prevent recurrence (recurrence) of the tumor;
    • symptomatic chemotherapy (palliative). It is performed in advanced breast cancer in order to reduce the size of the tumor, slow its growth or relieve symptoms;
  • radiation therapy is performed after organ-sparing operations, complete removal of the breast and as an independent method of treatment. The irradiation area may include the chest wall and lymph nodes. If other types of treatment are not possible, radiation therapy may be given to reduce the size of the tumor and to relieve symptoms;
  • hormone therapy is performed in all patients with hormone-sensitive breast cancer, regardless of other treatments;
  • targeted therapy is a method that causes the destruction of the tumor by affecting the receptors of tumor cells. Carried out in all stages of breast cancer, most often used trastuzumab (herceptin), pertuzumab, bevacizumab (avastin), panitumumab (vekbitix), cetuximab (Erbitux), Veliparib;
  • combination treatment involves the use of several different methods of affecting the tumor. Surgical treatment + chemotherapy, surgical treatment + radiation therapy;


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