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Breast cancer prevention

“A wise man prevents disease, not cures it,” says a Chinese proverb. Preventing a disease is easier than treating it - this is the golden postulate of medicine. Today, taking into account the knowledge known to medical science about the causes and mechanisms of development of tumor pathologies, a set of known preventive measures can prevent up to 80% of all cancers. This statement by expert experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) deserves full confidence. Moreover, with regard to most forms of cancer, including breast cancer, the main role belongs to self-prevention measures, i.e., measures taken by each person to prevent the development of cancer. It is with regret that we have to state that this is little used by the majority of modern women due to a carefree and thoughtless attitude towards their health (especially in Russia, in contrast to a number of Western countries) or low hygienic culture.

A cancer diagnosis is the most common cause of death after cardiovascular disease. Every year, about 1 million cases of the disease are registered worldwide. Mammary cancer ranks second in the world in prevalence and is the most common cause of death among women. At the same time, the incidence rate is growing all over the world, including in Russia; the annual increase in incidence is about 2%. Every year in our country alone, 50 thousand women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and 20 thousand women die. That is why everyone should be well informed about this disease, because not a single woman is immune from breast cancer. The peak incidence occurs at the age of 50-55 years, but according to WHO statistics, 30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are under 45 years of age. There is evidence that in recent years cancer has become “younger” and it is quite common to develop breast cancer at a younger age. Therefore, it is very important to start taking measures to prevent breast cancer at a young age.

The cause of cancer has not been established today, but there is evidence of predisposing factors:
- Age. The disease affects women aged 20 years and older.
- Genetic cause of the disease, i.e. women with a family predisposition to breast cancer.

Women who have a family history of breast cancer in close relatives have a high chance of developing the disease. The high-risk group includes women who have had or are suffering from first-degree relatives (mother or sister) from breast cancer. In such cases, more frequent and thorough examination by a doctor is recommended.

- Various menstrual cycle disorders.
- Breast injuries.
- Late birth of the first child - after 28 years.
- Refusal to breastfeed.
Women who regularly breastfeed their baby significantly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer. The longer you breastfeed, the stronger the protective effect. It’s not for nothing that there are recommendations for proper breastfeeding; breastfeed your baby until at least six months of age.

A very important factor in preventing breast cancer is a healthy and active lifestyle.
Exercising and walking in the fresh air not only prolongs youth, but also protects against cancer. Gymnastics is important - a woman’s mammary gland should be constantly surrounded by strong pectoral muscles. To do this, you need to perform simple physical exercises. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, strengthens the immune system, reduces estrogen levels (high levels of this hormone are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer), and therefore the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Not only does sport help very well in preventing cancer, but it is also able to heal and quickly restore the body after undergoing medical procedures. For example, women who exercised for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by 30%.

To prevent breast cancer, it is necessary to get rid of obesity - one of the most serious risk factors for developing cancer is obesity. Obesity is thought to increase the risk of developing breast cancer by 40%. Obesity changes a woman's hormonal balance, provoking the development of the disease. It is recommended to maintain a normal body mass index (BMI) until age 25, and to maintain a healthy body weight after menopause.

If you have a tendency towards obesity, you need to reconsider your diet. Firstly, it is recommended to limit your consumption of red meat as it is believed to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. It is better to replace red meat beef and lamb with white meat chicken, and also eat more seafood. Doctors recommend adding as many natural foods as possible to your diet, a lot of fruits and vegetables, and also including in your diet: broccoli, olive oil, salmon, beans and nuts, yellow and orange fruits and berries, green onions, green tea - in them contains many antioxidants.

Scientists have proven that the main cause of cancer development is free radicals found in foods. Good protectors of the mammary gland are tomato and cabbage, which contain lycopene and choline, which neutralize the effects of radicals. It is also recommended to increase the intake of vitamin D - it is also useful for strengthening bones and maintaining immunity. The concentration of vitamin D in the body of girls aged 10 to 30 is especially important.

One of the important topics is that cancer prevention involves giving up cigarettes and limiting alcohol. The more a woman consumes alcohol and nicotine, the greater the risk of developing breast cancer. Studies conducted by scientists show that drinking alcoholic beverages every day increases the risk of developing breast cancer by 21%. Scientists cannot give a definite answer why alcohol has such a negative effect, but most are inclined to believe that when drinking alcohol. When a woman is born, there is a sharp increase in the amount of sex hormones. To prevent breast cancer, it is best for women to drink alcohol only on special occasions.

Speaking about the prevention of breast cancer, one cannot fail to mention the need for the correct selection of underwear. Poorly chosen underwear that is not the right size injures the delicate skin of the mammary glands and also irritates the nerve fibers located in it. That is why a woman should pay special attention to the selection of underwear. The bra must match the size of the mammary gland and not disturb its correct anatomical position. Models that do not have straps are especially dangerous. The influence of

ultraviolet radiation. In the summer, it is better to limit exposure to the open sun; sunbathing without a swimsuit is not allowed.

The above measures will only help reduce the risk of getting sick, but, unfortunately, they will not protect completely. Secondary prevention, i.e. detecting cancer at an early stage, is of paramount importance. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the easier it can be cured; cancer detected in the early stages is practically curable.

Society, unfortunately, adheres to a very traditional position of a passive attitude towards illness and one’s health: as long as I’m healthy, I don’t worry about anything; when I get sick, I turn to doctors for treatment. This position causes considerable harm to people's health. In the fight against the main diseases of today, in particular cancer, an active position aimed at preventing diseases is necessary. And here the capabilities of each person individually often far exceed the capabilities of doctors and government health authorities. In this regard, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of self-examination in the prevention of breast cancer - thanks to regular self-examination of the mammary glands, the disease is detected in the early stages.

A generally accepted breast cancer prevention program includes:
- from 20 to forty years: monthly independent breast palpation, annual visit to a mammologist and gynecologist;
- from 40 to 50 years: monthly self-examination of the breast, annual visit to a specialist, annual mammography;
- from 50 to 60 years: monthly independent examination of the mammary glands for the presence of lumps and nodes, annual examination by a mammologist, annual mammography procedure;
- after sixty years: annual self-examination of the breast, undergoing a mammography procedure and visiting a gynecologist and mammologist.
Women at risk of developing breast cancer need to undergo these examinations more often, once every six months.

How and when to conduct a self-examination? It must be carried out once a month on days 6-12 from the start of menstruation, that is, in the first half of the cycle. Self-examination is carried out lying and standing - at the mirror, while taking a shower - as follows:
The examination includes examination of underwear, assessment of the general appearance of the glands, skin condition, palpation in a standing and lying position. Attention is drawn to the asymmetry of the mammary glands, changes in the color of the breast and areola, increased venous pattern, changes in the shape of the nipples, the presence of discharge from the nipples, compactions, tumor-like formations, enlarged lymph nodes in the axillary area.. If there is pain, it is necessary to determine whether it is associated with the menstrual cycle.

Self-examination consists of examining and feeling the breasts. It is better to carry out the examination in good daylight or artificial light - this will help to notice the slightest external changes.

You need to stand in front of a large mirror and carefully examine your breasts, paying special attention to their shape. After making a half turn, examine each breast in turn. Then place your hands behind your neck to tense the pectoral muscle and examine the gland again. Use the fingers of your right hand to palpate the left mammary gland - it should not have hardening. Then change hands and examine the right breast.

After the examination, the woman should not find any lumps or changes in the shape of the mammary gland. If changes are detected, it is necessary to correctly differentiate them. Signs of possible breast cancer development include:
- any lumps or swelling in the breast area that do not disappear after menstruation;
-change in size and shape of the mammary gland;
-discharge from the nipples that is not associated with feeding, sometimes mixed with blood;
-changes in the skin in the chest area (ripples, redness).
- nipple retraction (often unilateral);
-formation of folds on the skin or its wrinkling;
-swelling of the gland;
- seals in the axillary area;
-swelling of veins in the mammary gland.

If any changes are detected, you must contact a mammologist or surgeon for consultation and a full examination. Please do not self-diagnose or assume the worst in advance. Statistics and medical practice show that most changes in the mammary gland are benign!
If any pathology is detected in the mammary glands, it is necessary to regularly, on the recommendation of a doctor, undergo preventive examinations by a mammologist with an X-ray examination (mammography), as well as an ultrasound examination (ultrasound) of the mammary glands. It is also important to undergo an annual examination by a gynecologist, since the slightest dysfunction of the reproductive organs can lead to a disruption of the entire hormonal balance.

What medical examinations of the breast help make or refute the diagnosis? Naturally, this is an examination by a mammologist or surgeon who will examine you, ask about your complaints, organize dynamic monitoring of the course of the disease (if precancerous diseases are suspected or present), and prescribe the necessary studies:
• mammography is an X-ray examination of the mammary glands without the use of a contrast agent. Using a special apparatus, radiographs are taken in two projections; if necessary, targeted radiographs are taken with magnification. The method makes it possible to identify changes in the structure of breast tissue, axillary lymph nodes, and identify a tumor with a diameter of less than 10 mm, i.e. a tumor of such a size that the doctor, as a rule, cannot determine by palpation, especially if it is located in the deep parts of the large breast. Therefore, it is very important for middle-aged women to undergo such an examination once a year.
• ductography of the mammary gland - radiographic examination of the ducts of the mammary gland after the introduction of a contrast agent into them. It is carried out for women who come with complaints of discharge from the nipples. The area of the areola and nipple is treated with alcohol. Drop by drop of secretion, the external opening of the milk duct is found. A contrast agent is injected into it to a depth of 5–8 mm. Analysis of the images allows us to judge the shape, outline, and defects in the filling of the ducts.
• ultrasound echography (ultrasound) – used as an auxiliary method in the diagnosis of cancer and benign processes in the mammary gland,
• because malignant tumors contain more dense structures that reflect sound waves than benign ones.
• magnetic resonance imaging – allows not only to visualize the pathological focus in the mammary gland, but also to characterize changes in the lesion and surrounding breast tissue.
• morphological examination – is the main method of differential diagnosis. A study of tumor puncture or nipple discharge at the cellular level is used.
• Laboratory studies - study of tumor markers characteristic
malignant process.

Finally, the last and very important means of prevention is self-love: at any age, a woman should be attentive to herself. Numerous observations have noted that the majority of women who suffer from cancer are those who put themselves on the altar of family or work and who have stopped taking care of themselves. So, having completely taken charge of everyday life, stopped taking care of herself and buying clothes and cosmetics for herself, a woman begins to experience dissatisfaction with life and irritation. There has been a direct relationship between chronic stress and the development of malignant disease. Therefore, it is never too late to change your lifestyle. Start taking care of yourself, pampering yourself with new cosmetics and beautiful clothes, meet your friends, don’t accumulate resentment, forgive everyone, including yourself, relax, enjoy intimate relationships with your husband or your boyfriend, be open to the world and new opportunities - and then You are not afraid of any diseases. Your health is your happiness and the happiness of your family who love you.

I thank the reader of these lines and hope that I have helped at least one woman in the world to make some changes in her lifestyle in order to prevent the disease. But if there is some kind of soreness, I want to say - don’t be discouraged and don’t be afraid! Contact your doctor! The methods and approaches to the treatment of oncological diseases available in the arsenal of modern medicine can provide a lasting cure for the vast majority of patients, especially in the early stages of the disease.

And further. The success of treatment depends not only on the knowledge and skill of doctors. Much depends on the patient himself, on his state of mind and attitude towards the disease and treatment. The tandem of the patient and the doctor serves as a guarantee of the effectiveness of treatment and the fight against the disease. If any link is weak, the effectiveness of the fight for health decreases. If the patient dies in spirit, the body begins to die. If the patient does not remain with the disease, but unites with the doctor in the fight against it, the likelihood of success in treatment certainly increases. The emotional state of the patient, his attitude towards treatment is the main factor. Belief in the success of treatment, the mindset to fight the disease, get rid of it and return to life and work significantly increase the likelihood of recovery.
Even N.I. Pirogov, the great Russian surgeon, noted that the wounds of victorious soldiers heal much faster and more successfully than those of soldiers of a defeated army.

Author of the article:

Aleksanyan Aleksan Zavenovich

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