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Signs of breast cancer and diagnostic methods

The statistics are sad: more than a million cases of breast cancer in women are diagnosed every year. At the same time, experts call early detection and timely treatment procedures the main factors for successfully combating the disease. In the article we will look at what breast cancer is, its symptoms, and also talk about basic methods for diagnosing the disease and therapy.

Breast cancer: signs and features

Cancer – this is a severe form of the disease in which one’s own epithelial cells mutate, change, and begin to divide uncontrollably. As a result, a malignant tumor develops. The natural human immune system does not recognize the disease and hardly fights it. Without treatment, the outcome is usually unfavorable.
There are three forms of cancer localized in the breast area:

  • Nodal

The pathology is limited to the pseudocapsule, which was formed by the tissues located around it;

  • Diffuse

The most aggressive form. Almost all breast tissue is involved in the process. Due to the characteristics of the course of the disease, four subtypes are distinguished: inflammatory (reminiscent of mastitis), armored (characterized by strong compaction of breast tissue), edematous-infiltrative (the disease is characterized by a high degree of swelling), diffuse-infiltrative (the lesion spreads to all tissues);

  • Nipple-areolar

Онкологическое заболевание груди, Unfortunately, it is an aggressive form of cancer. Without proper treatment, the disease quickly develops and “spreads” to other organs (metastases). If you don't catch it in time, the consequences will be sad.

There are practically no symptoms of breast cancer in the initial stages. For women, as a rule, compacted areas do not cause concern. And the painful sensations hardly bother you due to the special structure of the organ. The fact is that the breast consists of muscle and fatty tissue, as well as the mammary gland with ducts leading to the nipple. The structure is soft-elastic, minor deformations or changes in size are almost imperceptible. This is why it is so difficult to identify the disease in the early stages; externally it is diagnosed with great difficulty or is not detected at all.
After some time, signs of breast cancer tend to become more obvious. This:

Increase in breast size or non-standard transformation of its shape.
Detection of neoplasms, nodules using simple palpation, as well as swelling and reddened areas. Pain may be present or, conversely, absent altogether.
Changes in the diameter and shape of the nipples, accompanied by stringy discharge from the nipple.
The formation of dense tumors in the armpits or enlarged lymph nodes.
These symptoms are the first alarm bells. Therefore, if even one of the above-mentioned signs appears, you should consult a doctor and undergo a comprehensive examination

Female breast cancer: risk factors

For non-specialists, let's remind you how breast cancer manifests itself. In the early stages, there are no external signs, but as the malignant capsule grows, compactions and deformations appear. In this case, the skin becomes covered with a crust or non-healing ulcers, swelling, redness with thickening of the skin are formed. As with any other type of oncology, over time, secondary lesions are identified - metastases. Symptoms depend on which organ is affected. For example, when it appears in the lungs it causes shortness of breath, and in the brain it causes migraines.
Below is what breast cancer looks like (external signs). The development of the disease leads not only to changes in the shape and size of the organ. It is accompanied by pain, discomfort and, of course, other negative consequences for the body as a whole. Although the etiology of the disease has not been fully identified, recent research makes it possible to establish with high probability the factors that determine a woman’s predisposition to breast cancer. This:
  • Hereditary predisposition.
  • Age-related changes during menopause.
  • Hormonal changes (including replacement therapy).
  • Unfavorable environment in the place of permanent residence.
  • Disturbances in eating and sleeping patterns, including drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, etc.
  • Certain non-malignant neoplasms on the breast (mastopathy, gynecomastia and other diseases).
  • Breast trauma, abortion, depression, anxiety.
  • Diseases associated with disruption of the endocrine system (diabetes mellitus, obesity, arterial hypertension).
  • Increased level of radiation at the location.
The list of factors may be supplemented by specific reasons. But it is obvious that most of the causes of cancer can be controlled. Of course, we are not talking about accidental injuries and genetic predisposition. Although the latter today can be determined through a blood test for mutations such as BRCA-1, BRCA-2, CHEK. To do this, just contact any modern laboratory or research center.

Diagnosis of breast cancer

So how do you spot breast cancer? “It hurts somewhere here” or “something is in the way” are not indicators. According to statistics, only 35% of cases of the disease are diagnosed in women 40-50 years old. Therefore, experts recommend that all representatives of the fair half regularly undergo a full examination. It is modern methods of studying human health that make it possible to determine the symptoms of breast cancer, make an accurate diagnosis and begin timely treatment. Moreover, experts recommend undergoing examinations every six months, because within a year the disease can move to another stage.
Modern medicine provides great opportunities for identifying diseases. Among the gold standards for diagnosing malignant breast tumors are:

  • Ultrasound

A classic type of examination for breast cancer, harmless and without restrictions. It is considered insufficiently sensitive and rather an additional diagnostic method.

  • Döş qəfəsinin MRT

Allows you to identify the location of not only the tumor, but also metastases. As a rule, it is prescribed for accurate diagnosis of the disease. If necessary, galactography is used - contrast (using special compounds) radiographic examination. The method allows you to examine the body completely and give the most complete conclusion.

  • Standard mammography

Experts also recommend periodic mammography. There is a whole class of signs indicating the rapid development of oncology. This typically appears on imaging as light areas of microcalcification with jagged edges.

  • Needle biopsy

Taking tissue samples to identify mutated cells. Typically, cytological and histopathological analysis is performed after the biopsy.
Do not forget about such a method as self-examination. Often, this method makes it possible to diagnose the first signs of breast cancer in the early stages, in which the risk of metastasis is very low, and minimally invasive surgical methods of therapy are suitable for treatment. It is important to know the principle here. Your main assistant is palpation. That is, carefully palpating the organ with your fingertips.

Self-examination is preferably carried out monthly between the sixth and ninth days of the menstrual cycle. If compacted areas or any other changes are detected, you should contact a mammologist.

Stages of breast cancer

Doctors have long classified oncology by stages. The following stages are distinguished:

1) First or early stage.
The initial phase, in which the diameter of the carcinoma is up to 2 cm, the cancer cells are not yet fused with the surrounding tissues, there are no external symptoms of breast cancer, discharge from the nipples, or metastases.

2) Second stage.
The size of the affected lesion is small, but is already determined in the range from 2 to 5 cm. The tumor has not yet grown into the surrounding tissues or has partially connected with fatty tissue and skin; there are no metastases. But the first external signs appear: compacted areas, wrinkled skin of the chest, pain.

3) Third stage.
How to understand that breast cancer has already entered the next stage?! Pay attention to the following signs: leakage, tissue hyperemia, nipple retraction, formation of ulcers and discharge, and the skin over the lesion has a flabby, wrinkled appearance, reminiscent of a lemon peel. At this stage, the malignant tumor is more than 5 cm in diameter, and carcinoma cells grow into the muscle tissue of the chest.

4) Fourth stage.
The most severe stage, in which multiple metastases are observed in the area of the lymph nodes (axillary, subclavian). External signs are clearly expressed, the skin is covered with painful wounds, discharge from the nipples, and pain are observed.
Before determining the stage, the doctor needs to study the results of a comprehensive diagnosis. The results of tomo- and scintigraphy, lung radiography, and ultrasound examination of the abdominal cavity are important. Diagnosis, treatment tactics, and prognosis are determined based on the data obtained.

Breast cancer: basic treatment methods

Russian doctors know almost everything about the treatment of breast cancer. The process is not quick and not at all easy. It all starts with diagnosis. Before choosing a method to combat the disease, a full range of studies is carried out, including visual examination of the breast, ultrasound, mammography, x-rays, and biopsy. Consultation with specialized doctors may be required. Based on the results of the consultation and diagnostic procedures, appropriate therapy is prescribed. There are several techniques that are most often used in combination to achieve the best result.

  • Surgical intervention.

  • Most often, this type of treatment is prescribed to remove affected tissue. The choice of technique for performing a medical procedure depends on the characteristics of the tumor, such as:
  • stage of cancer;
  • size of the lesion;
  • the degree of germination of pathology into surrounding tissues;
  • the extent of damage to lymph nodes and other organs;
  • level of metastasis and other factors.
When treating the early stage, the optimal method is considered to be gentle surgery with preservation of the organ, which is supplemented by radiation therapy. The cure rate is high - up to 98%. Risk factors in this case include the possible occurrence of local relapses, as well as re-development of pathologies.
At subsequent stages, a mastectomy is prescribed - partial or complete removal of the affected breast tissue (unilateral or bilateral). The operation is carried out in 3 basic forms:

  • Simple – removal of affected tissue, breast skin and part of healthy muscle fibers.
  • Radical – complete removal of the mammary glands.
  • Skin-sparing - ectomy of the affected areas, but some of the epidermal tissue is preserved.
Removal with immediate restoration of the shape and size of the mammary gland. In this case, the affected areas are replaced with a prosthesis, less often - with healthy soft tissues of the patient. As a rule, surgery is combined with radiotherapy or chemotherapy to reduce the risk of metastasis.
After treatment and a recovery period, in some cases, doctors offer mammoplasty reconstruction, which experts call a mechanism of social adaptation and a normalizing factor in the patient’s psychological state. Breast reconstruction is performed by transplanting a submental musculocutaneous section of tissue taken from the woman's thighs, abdomen or buttocks.

  • Radiotherapy

It is carried out by exposing the lesions to ionizing radiation. Radiation is harmful to cancer cells. The dose and number of courses are prescribed individually for each patient. Treatment with this method is used both before and after surgery. Allows you to prevent the development of relapses and achieve complete restoration of health.

As a rule, this type of therapy is used for extensive lesions without decay or involving more than 4 lymph nodes. Radiation therapy is often used in addition to surgery to destroy remaining cancer cells.

These are methods of influencing diseases through oral or intravenous administration of drugs that have a detrimental effect on malignant neoplasms. The choice of treatment regimen for targeted, drug and hormonal therapy depends on the molecular biological subtype of cancer, morphological characteristics of the tumor, the presence and number of metastases and the somatic condition of the patient.

Medicines generally kill cancer cells regardless of location. They are used for prophylactic (to destroy pathological cells circulating throughout the patient’s body), preoperative and therapeutic purposes.

Drug therapy is prescribed in courses with intermediate evaluation of results. This type of treatment has many side effects, which is due to the toxicity of the drugs used. To recover after a course, detoxification therapies are most often prescribed, that is, a combination of medications aimed at restoring body functions.

In the last few years, immunotherapy treatments have begun to be offered as an alternative to more severe drug and radiotherapy treatments. This method is suitable for all stages, including the stage of metastasis. Immunotherapy is carried out using special immunological drugs that “teach” the patient’s body to recognize the disease and cope with the tumor on its own.

The immunotherapy technique is relatively new and is not very actively used in the Russian Federation. And few people know how to work correctly in this area. But OncoCareClinic 308 is the first medical institution in Russia that uses the cytokinogenetic method of therapy and prevention of cancer. Here they do not guess how to recognize breast cancer, but use advanced methods of identifying the disease and its treatment.

  • Experimental techniques

There are various newer breast cancer treatments that are undergoing testing stages. However, their safety and effectiveness are questionable. Therefore, it is better to pay attention to traditional, proven methods of treatment.

Breast cancer: basic treatment methods

According to statistics, more than 70,000 cases of female breast cancer are diagnosed in Russia every year. Is it possible to reduce the risk of developing cancer? The answer is clear - yes. Doctors specializing in the treatment of pathological tumors recommend:

  • give up everything that negatively affects the female body. This is drinking alcohol, smoking (including electronic cigarettes, hookah). That is, everything that has a negative effect on hormonal levels and contributes to the future development of malignant pathology should be excluded.

  • regularly conduct self-diagnosis, including external visual examination, palpation, checking for the appearance of compacted or swollen areas, enlarged lymph nodes. It is advisable to perform testing monthly, on days 6-8 of the cycle or 7-8 days after the end of menstruation.

  • Visit a mammologist at least 2 times a year to check your condition. This is what will allow the pathology to be identified in time and therapy to begin in the early stages. Cancer in the early stages is much easier to cure, and the prognosis is most often positive.

  • eat healthy and varied. A large number of carcinogenic substances used today in food production cause cell degeneration and the appearance of tumors. In addition, for prevention, experts recommend switching to food prepared in the most healthy ways: stewed, boiled. It is advisable to limit spices and fried foods. But for fruits, vegetables, and fish there are no restrictions.

  • choose the right underwear. You should avoid tight underwear that compresses the chest or lymph nodes, and avoid models that are inconvenient in everyday life, which can cause tissue compression and disruption of blood or lymph flow.

The above prevention methods work equally well for women of all ages.

Cost of breast cancer treatment

СThe cost of treatment depends on many factors. The cost group usually includes the cost of surgery and various procedures, as well as everything that may be needed in the preliminary and subsequent stages (drugs, diagnostic tests, rehabilitation and much more).

In any case, always choose professional doctors and proven treatment methods. To cure oncology at the gene level, contact OncoCareClinic 308. Our specialists use an innovative, scientifically proven treatment method, thanks to which you can cope with the disease at any stage. We work even with those patients whom everyone else considered hopeless and sent home.

Author of the article:

Aleksanyan Aleksan Zavenovich

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