Breast cancer: What you should know and how to prevent it? ~ Meaning Articles

Breast cancer: What you should know and how to prevent it?

In this article:

- Demographic Aspects
- Risk factors
- Signals and symptons
- Diagnosis
- How do the self-examination?
- Mammography
- Ultrasound
- Biopsy
- Conclusion
- View Other Articles Related to the Theme

"Breast cancer (breast Ca) is the second most common form of cancer in American women, second only to skin cancers. In Brazil, cervical cancer is still very frequent, unlike the United States. Some 180,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the uS are responsible for about 48,000 deaths annually and is the second leading cause of cancer death, second only to lung cancer. After growing by 4% a year in the 80 the incidence has currently maintained at 110 cases per 100,000 people per year. the ways of tracking are changing as more is known about the natural history of the disease. Due to the increased awareness of the signs and symptoms of this disease and the use of screening mammography, it has been able to diagnose increasingly early forms of these cancers. Learn how to do self-examination, prevention is the best way to prevent this disease. "

A review of clinical data (symptoms, signs and physical examination) and laboratory tests was made by Dr. Lecia M. Apantaku the Chicago Medical School. - Finch University of Health Sciences - USA. In this study it exposes the relevance of these aspects emphasizing the importance of observation and women themselves care for their breasts as the best form of prevention and / or early detection. A summary of it was published in the medical journal American Family Physician.

Demographic aspects

Breast Ca ratio increases as you get older, and white women are more likely to develop it. However, the black have a higher incidence than white before age 50. It is important to remember that 1% of breast Ca affects men, so they should seek help when they realize a change.

Risk factors

Several well-established risk factors are associated with breast Ca development, but it is very important to note that many cases occur without any identifiable risk factor:

- Age: greater than 50 years;

- Family history: the first-degree relatives (mother, daughter, sister) especially if the Ca was diagnosed before menopause (risk 3-4 times higher). The presence of several second-degree relatives can increase the risk, but has not been quantified;

- Hormonal exposure (leads to increased proliferation of breast cells which predisposes to a greater number of mutations) - situations in which women are exposed more time to estrogen, either through physiological menstrual cycles or through synthetic hormones: first period before 12 years, the last period with more than 50 years, no pregnancies or first pregnancy after age 30. Contraceptive use for less than 10 years showed no increased risk and the use of postmenopausal hormone replacement despite having shown some increased risk, but the replacement has more benefits.

- Genetics: only 8% of all breast Ca are considered hereditary. Half of these are due to mutations in two genes - BRCA1 and BRCA2. Occur more in women before menopause. Genetic counseling is still controversial, and may cause a lot of anxiety in women, and does not have a certain prognostic value.

- Prior biopsy with atypical hyperplasia: This change despite being benign, has a greater tendency to develop into breast Ca;

- Breast Ca past been treated

- Diet: there seems to be a relationship between diet rich in fats and breast Ca, but there is still no clear evidence.

- Exposure to ionizing radiation

Signals and symptons

- A lump or breast mass: is the main complaint in breast that leads women to the doctor. However, 90% are caused by benign changes. rubber and soft consistency bodies are usually related to fibroadenomas in women between 20 and 30 years and cysts in women between 30 and 40 years, both benign changes. malignant nodules are usually solitary, discrete, hard, without increasing tenderness in one breast and may in some cases be attached to the skin or muscle wall located underneath the breast.

- Breast pain: also called mastalgia, is rarely associated with Ca breast and is generally related to premenopausal benign or changes in women receiving postmenopausal estrogen replacement. The pain in such cases is present together with a breast enlargement.

- Erythema (breast redness), edema (swelling breast), retraction of the skin or nipple are commonly associated with breast ca.

- Nipple discharge: is considered suspicious especially when accompanied by a mass, it comes from a single duct, is spontaneous and bloody. The suspicion is done mammography and ductograma. Secretion green or black and that has more than one duct is usually normal. In case of bilateral milk secretion must seek the cause of the production of prolactin.


Asymptomatic women with no family history, older than 20 years should be directed to perform self-breast examination monthly. Those between 20 and 30 years apart to do it, should go to the gynecologist 3 in 3 years for a medical examination. Women over 40 should keep doing breast self-examination every month, go to the doctor and perform a yearly mammogram. If risk factors, this routine should be modified.

It is important to remember that any breast mass noted during pregnancy should be investigated due to the fact that 2% of breast Ca occur in pregnancy.

How to Make Self-Exam?

Stand in front of the mirror. Look at the breasts with his hands behind his head and elbows raised, so that the chest muscles flex. Look for any changes in the skin or size and shape of breasts. Then feel each breast with palpation over the bath - raising one arm and using the other hand with soapy fingers to palpation of the breast to be examined. Use the fingertips of the fingers to feel all the breast pressing it against his chest and also the underarms. After the bath, palpate each breast while lying on a bed with a pillow under your shoulders. Just as before, the breast side to be palpated should have high arm and hand behind his head.

The finding of a change can cause fear, but most of them are benign. Many women have painful and swollen breasts during menstruation. In this case, wait a few days after it to disappear swelling.


The screening mammography is the appropriate test for asymptomatic women and has a greater importance in the age group 40-75 years. Diagnostic mammography is performed on those women with signs and / or symptoms present. The importance of this first examination (screening) lies in the fact that breast Ca a much lower mortality when discovered early. It is important to remember that there is the possibility of false-positive results on mammography, especially in young women. Furthermore, 10% to 15% of all breast Ca are not detected by mammography. A palpable mass that is not seen on mammography should be studied with other tests (ultrasound and biopsy with fine needle).


Ultrasound helps in differentiating between a solid mass and a cystic mass (containing fluid) when a palpable mass is not seen on mammography. It is also very useful in young women with dense breast tissue. It should not be used as a screening method.


The biopsy tissue is removed (partial or total) forming the nodule or mass which is being studied with the help of mammography or ultrasound. Thus, the tissue can be studied microscopically using slides prepared in the laboratory. There are basically three types of biopsy which varies according to the quantity and quality of the tissue being studied. Thus, one can make a aspiration biopsy with a thin needle with a thicker needle or minor surgery to remove the entire mass or lump that can be studied as a whole. Therefore, the fact of doing a biopsy does not mean breast Ca!


With the above information, it is hoped that readers may have become more familiar with these issues and more doubts may have arisen because only through them is that curiosity and knowledge can flourish. Look regularly your gynecologist or family doctor for proper prevention.

Say good bye Breast cancer...!!!

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