Breast cancer is one of the causes of high mortality in women. To date, the success of breast cancer treatment of most of the oncological diseases directly depends on timely diagnosis and, therefore, late seeking medical help leads to tragic consequences. Therefore, every woman needs to know by what early signs of breast cancer treatment can be suspected. Who is at high risk of this disease.
Early signs of breast cancer
Every woman needs to self-check regularly. To do this, just go to the mirror and carefully examine your chest.
In most cases, the following symptoms can be seen:
- unreasonable increase or decrease in the breast;
- changes in the area of the nipple or areola: erosion, inverted nipple, as well as discharge from the nipple that is not associated with pregnancy and feeding;
- changes on the skin similar to “lemon peel”;
- A painless, dense mass, or hard area in the breast that you can feel with your hands.
But even if visually it seems that there are no problems, every woman after 40 years (this practice exists in Israel) should undergo mammography regularly, at least once a year.
Conduct an ultrasound of the mammary glands. Studies show that about 80% of all sick women were able to notice the first symptoms of breast cancer on their own. Basically, among all the detected tumor formations, most of them are benign.
also, It is important to remember that a disease detected at an early stage is utterly curable in almost 90% of cases, and the third stage is treatable by only 40%.
Groups and risk factors
A risk factor is any condition or exposure that increases the likelihood of disease. It is essential to know that the mere fact of having one or even more risk factors for breast cancer does not mean that a woman will automatically get it. Some women with a range of these factors never develop cancer, while a significant number of breast cancer patients do not have apparent risk factors.
These are women who have already had cancer of one of the mammary glands. They have an increased risk of new cancer developing in another breast or a different area of the same chest.
Moderate risk group
- The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. About 77% of patients diagnosed with breast cancer are over 50 years old, and half of them are 65 years old or older;
- Breast cancer in close relatives (mother, sister, or daughter) increases the risk of getting it The risk is even higher if a relative’s disease is diagnosed before her menopause;
- Genetic factors: The risk is increased in carriers of altered forms of either of the two genes associated with “familial” breast cancer. These are the so-called BRCA1 and BRCA2. A woman with a hereditary mutation of any of these genes approaches an 80% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
Slightly increased risk group.
- Breast cancer in distant relatives (refer to cases of cancer in non-first-degree relatives of grandmothers, aunts, cousins, etc.).
- Abnormalities in previous biopsies. If the results of biopsy have ever indicated the presence of complex component fibroadenomas, hyperplasia, single papillomas, then the risk increases slightly;
- Age over 30 at the birth of the first child;
- Early-onset of menses.
- Late menopause. The risk of breast cancer is higher with menopause after age 55;
- Family history of other cancers. Having a family member with ovarian, cervical, or uterine cancer increases the risk of breast cancer;
- Long-term use of combined estrogen and progesterone drugs increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
Breast cancer is not a sentence.
Today, breast cancer is not a “death sentence.” In modern medicine, there are different methods of dealing with the disease: radiation and drug therapy (including targeted therapy), surgical intervention.
Breast cancer treatment strategy depends on many factors: the type of cancer, stage, the sensitivity of tumor cells to hormones. Immunohistochemical characteristics of the tumor. As well as the general condition of the patient. The main radical treatment for breast cancer is surgery. If the disease is diagnosed early, the surgeon can remove the tumor tissue with a small part of the surrounding healthy tissue (lumpectomy). For larger tumors, the entire breast is removed (mastectomy), as well as the lymph nodes closest to it, which may contain metastases. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are usually used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may have remained in the body. And also, before surgery – to reduce the size of the tumor and make the intervention more effective.
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BREAST CANCER TREATMENT
Treatment of breast cancer is a very complex problem; however, in recent years, with the introduction of new chemotherapy drugs, methods of radiation therapy, targeted treatment, significant progress have been achieved in this section of clinical oncology.
In breast cancer, in the complex of therapeutic measures, almost the entire arsenal of the main antitumor effects is used: surgical method, radiation therapy, drug treatment – chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy.
Clinical – age, state of ovarian-menstrual function, degree of prevalence of the tumor process (in primary patients – stage of the disease), size and localization of the primary tumor; and morphological – histological and immunohistochemical variant of the tumor, the number of metastatic regional lymph nodes, the degree of tumor malignancy, the receptor status of the tumor, the expression of the HER2 / neu gene, the degree of the Ki-67 tumor anti-infective activity. Systemic – chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy.
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Breast cancer treatment at different stages
Women who are suspected of having a tumor at an appointment with a mammologist oncologist often ask: “Is my type of cancer treatable?” Within the limits of the article, it is impossible to answer the question at what stage in which treatment will be most effective. Women with the same stage may be offered completely different treatments depending on their age, health status, characteristics of the tumor itself, and so on. Medical practice knows cases when the life of patients with stage 4 was extended by several years while maintaining its quality at a sufficiently high level.
Methods used to treat breast cancer?
- Surgical treatment is the main treatment for breast cancer, and most often involves surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue. However, the extent of such intervention depends on both the stage of the disease and the characteristics of the tumor. If possible, doctors perform minimally invasive operations and strive to save the breast. However, sometimes they still have to remove it (perform a mastectomy) even in the case of a small tumor. Also, modern techniques make it possible to combine mastectomy with plastic surgery to restore breast volume.
- Hormonal drugs reduce the production of estrogens (sometimes by suppressing ovarian function), which are a trigger for some types of breast cancer? Also, this therapy is ineffective for hormone-independent breast cancer.
- Radiation therapy (radiation therapy) – treatment with ionizing radiation is an important treatment for breast cancer. It is harmful to cells that tend to increase (which is typical for cancer cells). At certain localizations and stages of the disease, radiation therapy can be an alternative to surgical treatment.
- intraoperative radiation therapy is possible in the early stages. This allows you to eliminate or shorten the course of radiation therapy after surgery.
- His method helps to reduce the size of the tumor and lymph nodes before surgery or in the case of metastatic cancer. To reduce the volume and control the symptoms of the disease – metastases that cannot be removed by surgery. Breast cancer is sensitive to most modern anticancer drugs, and their effects can range from 20% to 75%.
- Targeted therapy involves taking pharmaceutical drugs that block the work of a certain protein found only in tumor cells, which slows down the growth of the neoplasm. This method has shown impressive results in some types of tumors.
- Immunotherapy for breast cancer has narrow indications. Its effect in the body is partly similar to the use of vaccines against infections: a drug is injected into the patient’s body, which causes the immune system to actively destroy cancer cells.
Regardless of the formal stages
It must be remembered that each case of cancer is a unique situation. So the prognosis may differ from the average statistical indicators. The main thing is to seek help promptly. Find a clinic and a reputable doctor, and then strictly follow the instructions of specialists. Cancer is not a death sentence, but only a complex medical problem that requires a competent approach—the basic principles of chemotherapy a selection of a drug based on its spectrum of action.
Selection of the optimal dose, regimen, and route of administration; consideration of factors requiring dose adjustment to avoid severe complications of chemotherapy. But also on healthy cells of the intestinal epithelium, hematopoiesis, hair follicles, etc. The intervals of 3-4 weeks between the administration of chemotherapy drugs ensure complete regeneration of normal damaged tissues.
Depending on the timing of the chemotherapy. Carried out before the operation to reduce the tumor mass. Basically, Transfer the tumor into an operable state for possible performing organ-preserving surgery to suppress possible cancer micrometastases in the organs and tissues of the body.
Basically, Breast cancer is a hormone-dependent and hormone-sensitive tumor. In 50-70% of patients, the tumor contains specific proteins called receptors for steroid hormones – estrogen and progesterone. In these patients, hormone therapy has a pronounced effect. Currently, two types of hormonal drugs are used: antiestrogens (tamoxifen and its analogs), which block hormone receptors and aromatase inhibitors. Used in women in menopause and preventing the formation of estrogens by converting androgens into estrogens (Arimidex, letrozole, promazine, etc.) …
However, the targeted drug Herceptin (Trastuzumab) blocks this receptor. The drug does not act on tumor cells without this receptor. Targeted therapy has a cytostatic rather than cytotoxic effect; it inhibits hematopoiesis less. More often causes rashes, cardiotoxicity, fatigue, and diarrhea.
Treating breast cancer has significantly expanded over the past decade. The choice of optimal treatment tactics for breast cancer is based on the biological characteristics of the tumor. In addition, the prevalence of the process and the individual characteristics of patients. In these conditions. Timely treatment of patients for medical care. Early diagnosis and the use of all modern methods of treatment are of particular importance. Finally, the improvement of therapeutic approaches, along with the improvement of early diagnosis. Including Russia. Increasing the oncological alertness of women. The availability of full information about the disease, modern possibilities of diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer.