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Breast Cyst and Breast Cancer Risk

Breast cyst and risk of breast cancer

Breast cysts or fibroadenomas (solid non-cancerous lumps) increase the future risk of breast cancer, research presented at the 13th European Congress on Breast Cancer has shown.

Benign breast lesions increase the risk of developing breast cancer for at least twenty years, almost double that of women who have not had any breast lesions, according to research presented at the 13th European Congress on Breast Cancer and whose results have been published in the journal  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 700.000 women between the ages of 50 and 69 who underwent breast screening with periodic mammography at least once in Spain between 1965 and 2015.

“There were already studies that had shown that benign lesions increased the risk of cancer. What is new about our research is that for the first time we have been able to demonstrate that this risk persists over time”, explained Dr. Marta Roman, from the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona and first author of the article.

In more than 40% of cases, the tumor appears in the opposite breast to where the benign lesion was found.

The researchers followed the women's data through 2017, and during that time, 17.827 women were diagnosed with a benign breast lesion, while 11.708 were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Once the data was obtained, a study to check if there was a relationship between the appearance of a benign lesion and the subsequent development of cancer.

among women without benign breast disease, about 15 out of 1.000 were diagnosed with breast cancer.

among women with benign breast lesion, about 25 out of 1.000 were later diagnosed with breast cancer, and regardless of age, the risk persisted for at least 20 years.

Women with a family history or breast lesions could benefit from more frequent screening checks and more personalized screening."

“In more than 40% of cases the tumor appears in the opposite breast to where the benign lesion was. This seems to indicate that there is some predisposition in the breast tissue to develop the disease. maybe it would be appropriate a kind of screening that takes into account risk factors, such as family history or benign lesions. These women could benefit from more frequent screening exams, with a more personalized screening”, has pointed out Dr. Román.

Breast screening in Spain

In Spain, breast screening began in 1990 and currently its coverage is only for women between 50 and 69 years of age with an interval between examinations of 2 years.

Scientific societies and clinical practice guidelines recommend that women undergo gynecological check-ups once a year starting at age 1.

For women who meet the criteria for personal risk or family or hereditary cancer risk, it is advisable to carry out an individual risk assessment and specific follow-up.

Annual gynecological check-up: prevention and early diagnosis

The annual gynecological check-up is a specialized medical visit that is carried out in order to prevent or diagnose and treat early pathologies that may arise throughout the different stages of a woman's life.

The gynecological check-up lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and includes:

  • Personal interview with the gynecologist.
  • Gynecological examination.
  • Examination to rule out Human Papilloma Virus infection
  • Vaginal ultrasound.
  • Breast and armpit examination.
  • Health guidelines and preventive advice.
  • Depending on the age and/or the results of the personal interview and examination, tests such as blood tests, cytology, mammography, bone densitometry, Human Papilloma Virus culture, etc. may be performed or requested.

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