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WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT BREAST CANCER?
Most breast tumours have a sporadic origin, i.e. their source is primarily due to chance. Only 5-10% of cases will have a hereditary origin. However, certain factors can increase the probability of having the disease. These are called risk factors.
Here are some of the things you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer:
· Avoid overweight and obesity as well as sedentary lifestyles in postmenopausal women.
· A Mediterranean dietary pattern, rich in fruit, vegetables and fish, also helps to reduce the risk.
· Reduced alcohol intake.
· In women carrying a risk mutation for breast cancer, bilateral prophylactic mastectomy is recommended as a preventive measure, as the lifetime risk of breast cancer in these women is between 50-85%.
WHAT IS EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF BREAST CANCER?
Early diagnosis refers to detecting breast cancer at an early stage when symptoms or signs have not yet appeared. This is the aim of population-based screening programmes, whereby healthy people are regularly screened to detect breast cancer in its early stages.
It is possible to detect a change suspected of being breast cancer by two main means:
Despite having a low sensitivity, both when performed by the patients themselves and by professionals, it is recommended that palpation be performed concentrically after menstruation to detect any alteration in consistency, pain or lumps. If any symptoms appear, the gynaecologist should be consulted.
Mammography is an imaging test, ideal for the study of most pathologies of the mammary gland. It is a high-definition X-ray, which uses X-rays at very low doses. Digital mammography offers images of optimum quality and reduces the amount of radiation received by the patient.
When any suspicious alteration is detected, it is necessary to access other types of tests that can help in the diagnosis.
Other imaging tests
Ultrasound is a very useful complementary technique in the diagnosis of breast cancer. It is especially useful for assessing the state of the lymph nodes.
MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING
This is a mandatory technique when breast cancer is suspected. It is a highly sensitive test which, through the use of gadolinium as contrast, allows a complete assessment of the breast and the discovery of lesions that may have gone unnoticed in the mammogram. It is especially useful in patients with dense breasts. It should be performed in any patient with suspected breast cancer and in all patients who are going to undergo chemotherapy treatment before surgery.
WHO SHOULD CONSIDER BREAST CANCER SCREENING?
There are currently well-established screening programmes to facilitate the early diagnosis of breast cancer. In Spain we consider that these two main groups should be screened for breast cancer:
- All women from the age of 50 to 69 should have a mammogram every two years.
- Population at risk, either because they are carriers of some genetic mutations or because they have a high burden of familial disease. In these cases, specific programmes are accessed
TREATMENT AND PROGNOSIS OF BREAST CANCER
To confirm the diagnosis of breast cancer, a biopsy of the tissue is necessary. All the results obtained from the different tests carried out will help in the decision-making process to prescribe one treatment or another. This treatment is multimodal in the case of breast cancer and is based on surgery, radiotherapy and systemic treatments.
The chances of a cure for breast cancers detected at the earliest stage are almost 100%. In infiltrative disease, the extent or stage at diagnosis is a very important prognostic factor. In general, the earlier the diagnosis is made, the more likely it is that the disease will be cured.
Do you need medical advice on the early diagnosis of breast cancer, but you are not in Barcelona or cannot travel? If you wish, our professionals will attend to you via video conference, without leaving your home.
EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF BREAST CANCER IN FIGURES
- Breast cancer is the most common tumour in women.
- Breast cancer accounts for about 29% of all cancers in women and is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Spain among women.
- Every year more than 35,000 breast cancers are diagnosed among women in our country.
- Only 5-10% of cases will be hereditary in origin.
- The chances of curing breast cancers that are detected at the earliest stage are almost 100%.
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