It is estimated that in Spain 26.000 cases of breast cancer per year (according to the Spanish Association against Cancer), fortunately, thanks to early diagnosis, the vast majority manage to overcome.
The Breast Pathology Unit of Women's CD Barcelona has a multidisciplinary team specialists endowed with the most advanced technology; highly qualified professionals with a clear objective: To carry out an accurate and personalized diagnosis for each case.
En Women's CD Barcelona We advocate to provide all its patients from the unit itself, comprehensive support and care.
What is breast cancer?
El breast cancer It starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells normally form a tumor that can often be seen on a mammogram or can be explored as a lump (mass or lump).
Neoplasia is malignant (cancer) if cells can grow by penetrating (invading) surrounding tissues or spreading (metastasizing) to distant areas of the body. There are many types this malignant breast diseaseIt occurs almost only in women, however, men can still suffer it. Almost any cell in the body can become cancer and spread to other areas.
El breast cancer it is the most diagnosed tumor among Spanish women. According to him AECC Cancer Observatory, In 2019, 33.307 new cases were diagnosed in Spain and, for 2020, the estimate is slightly higher.
In recent years, mortality from breast cancer has dropped considerably thanks to advances in early diagnosis and improved treatments.
The median survival of breast cancer after five years is almost 90%, but the stage at which it is diagnosed influences survival, which may depend mainly on the extent of the tumor at the time it is detected.
Let us bear in mind that when breast cancer is detected in the earliest stages, in its earliest stages, the cure rate is very close to 100%.
Specifically, in stage I, when the tumor is small and has not spread, survival is almost 100% (more than 98%), but it drops drastically to 24% in stages III.
Therefore, early diagnosis remains essential to improve the chances of cure.
With mammography it is possible identify breast cancer up to 2 years before it becomes palpable, in its earliest stage, and thus ensure an early diagnosis that can save lives.
Types of breast cancer
Both types of breast cancer more frequent are:
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma, which begins in the ducts that carry milk from the breast to the nipple, is by far the most common (approximately 80% of cases).
- Infiltrating lobular carcinoma, which begins in parts of the breasts called lobules, which produce breast milk.
The rest type together they do not exceed 10% of the cases. The main risk factors for contracting breast cancer include advanced age, the first menstruation at an early age, advanced age at the time of the first childbirth or never having had a child, a history of relatives with breast cancer, the fact of using hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, drinking alcohol, and being Caucasian.
In 5-10% of cases, breast cancer is caused by inherited genetic mutations.
Tests to diagnose breast cancer
To diagnose breast cancer, different types of tests are used such as mammography, breast ultrasound with high resolution transducers (ultrasound) and magnetic resonance imaging.
The diagnosis of breast cancer can only be definitive by means of a breast biopsy. It is very important and necessary to do biopsies by puncture or aspiration, with a fine needle or with a cutting gun, guided by ultrasound or resonance, or to use cutting and vacuum biopsy equipment, which are capable of partially or completely removing the lesion, depending on the case. These can be guided by stereotaxy (coordinate-guided mammography imaging) or by ultrasound.
Obviously, by all the imaging methods, there are characterizations of what may or may not be a cancer, for which the Bi-rads method is used, in order to decide the behavior according to that classification.
October 19 aims to influence society general about the importance of this disease in the industrialized world due to the celebration of the International Breast Cancer Day.
Annual mammogram from age 40
The age of maximum incidence of breast cancer is above 50 years, but approximately 10% are diagnosed in women under 40 years of age.
Annual mammography from the age of 40 significantly reduces mortality from breast cancer, as shown by studies such as the one recently published in The Lancet Oncology.
For this study, 160.921 women were recruited between 1990 and 1997, and followed for an average of almost 23 years.
At 10 years after the start of follow-up, the researchers found a significant reduction in mortality from breast cancer in the group that had been undergoing annual mammograms since the age of 40.
Specifically, in the group in which mammograms were performed since the age of 40, there had been 83 deaths from breast cancer, compared to the 219 deaths that occurred in the group in which mammograms began at age 50.
En Women's CD we have always recommended to our patients that from the 40 years start making a annual mammogram in conjunction with the review.
And if there is a high risk of cancer due to a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, we recommend mammography performed from the 30 years.
Breast self-examination should become a habit, even if you do not have any discomfort and regardless of whether you are pregnant or have gone through menopause.
Self-examination will allow you to know how your breasts normally are and, if there is any change, you will be able to detect it immediately.
If it seems that you detect painful spots, a mass or lump, no matter how small, do not hesitate to go to your gynecologist to perform the relevant tests, rule out complications or proceed with the appropriate treatment or controls.
However it is very important take into account that there are tumors so small that they are imperceptible to the touch and that mammography is the diagnostic test that allows us to identify breast cancer long before it becomes palpable.
The annual gynecological check-up
It is very important that you visit your gynecologist periodically and that you carry out your gynecological check-up annually, because it is in the annual check-ups when it is possible to reach an early diagnosis.
The objective of the annual gynecological check-up is to be able to diagnose any pathology, anomaly or alteration early and prevent diseases or problems that may arise.
Gynecological check-ups should start from the age of 25 or earlier if you begin to have sexual intercourse.
In the annual gynecological control, the genital apparatus and the breasts are checked with special attention to the detection of gynecological, uterine and ovarian cancer, breast cancer and sexually transmitted infections, such as Human papilloma virus, and other pathologies such as endometriosis, polycystic ovaries or polyps in the uterus.
When to make an appointment with my gynecologist
In addition to your annual gynecological check-up, make an appointment with your gynecologist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- A lump or lump in the breast or armpit.
- Swelling, hardening, or change in the shape of the breast.
- Spontaneous nipple discharge (especially bloody discharge).
- Retraction of a nipple.
- Appearance of "orange peel" (thickening of the skin of the breast).
- Pain in any part of the breast.