BREAST CANCER

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Understanding Breast Cancer

WHAT CAUSES IT?

Like most types of cancer, breast cancer is caused by changes in genes that control normal cell growth and death. Certain lifestyles and environmental factors can convert normal genes into abnormal genes that allow the growth of malignant cells.

HOW IS IT TREATED?

The treatment of breast cancer is multidisciplinary, requiring treatment with surgery (partial or total withdrawal of the breast), chemotherapy (intravenous or oral) and or radiation therapy (application of ionizing radiation). Your doctors will offer you the best option for you.

Schedule an appointment with our oncologists.

IS IT TRUE THAT THE BIGGER THE BREAST, THE GREATER THE CHANCES OF DEVELOPING BREAST CANCER?

This is false. Breast size has nothing to do with the development of breast cancer. There is however a relationship with what you eat, such as ingesting saturated fats.

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?

  • Self-examinations done monthly one week after the start of your menstrual cycle.
  • Breast ultrasound (<40 years).
  • Mastography (> 40 years).

Visit your gynecologist and an oncologist if you have questions about the results of these studies.

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Go to routine medical check-ups, share healthy lifestyles, and identify early signs of cancer.

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ARE BREAST SELF-EXAMS ENOUGH TO CATCH CANCER?

Regularly examining your breasts on your own is an important way to find breast cancer early. However, not every cancer can be found this way.

Imaging methods like ultrasounds and mastographies can identify small lesions that are not detected by breast self-exams.

HOW CAN I PREDICT IF I’M AT RISK OF DEVELOPING BREAST CANCER?

There is no single cause of breast cancer, but there are risk factors that can develop it:

  • Breast cancer can occur at any age, but the risk increases the older you are.
  • Have previously had breast cancer.
  • Have direct family members such as grandmother, mother or sister who have had breast cancer before menopause.
  • Never having children.
  • First child after age 30.
  • Early start of menstruation.
  • Beginning of menopause after the age of 50.
  • Hormone replacement after menopause.
  • Antecedente de radiación previa al tórax.
  • Multiple biopsies due to benign disease.
  • Use of contraceptives for a long time.

Some women develop breast cancer without these risk factors. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history.

“Go to routine medical check-ups, share healthy lifestyles, and identify early signs of cancer”

COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

  • Nodule or lump in breast and / or armpit. Change in the size or shape of the breast.
  • Thickening of the skin (orange peel).
  • Hundimiento del pezón.
  • Nipple discharge (including bleeding).
  • Pain (in advanced stages).

Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but need to be checked for a diagnosis.

HOW TO PERFORM A BREAST SELF- EXAM (BSE)

Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Here's what you should look for:

  1. Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
  2. Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling

If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor's attention:

  1. Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
  2. A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
  3. Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling

Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

Step 3: While you're at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).

Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.

Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you've reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.

Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.

(source: http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam/)

WHEN SHOULD I STOP DOING YEARLY MASTOGRAPHIES?

Never. After the age of 40, they must be done annually.

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