Hello there 👋🏽
Pink Month is almost over, but we wanted to clear up any concerns you might still have about breast cancer, your body and your health.
And what better source than a professional to bring us some clarity? So we reached for Dr. Anna, a dedicated Gynecologist and she answered all of our questions and doubts about this important matter.
1. What is Breast Cancer?
A// Breast Cancer is a proliferation of malignant cells on the breast. The study of Breast Cancer is very important since it ranked first in incidences and deaths for women around the world.
2. What causes Breast Cancer?
A// There are a lot of risk factors associated with breast cancer, but the ones that are most related are:
- Gender: it is much more common in women than in men
- Age: the risk of developing breast cancer increases as women get older
- Radiation exposure
- Family history: having a closely related family member with breast cancer increases the risk of developing this disease, even more in the premenopausal stage.
- Mammographic density: women with dense breasts have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Recent or past users of hormone replacement therapy have also been associated with a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer
- Alcoholism / Smoking
- Reproductive and menstrual history of women: For example, women that started menstruating at an early age have a higher risk. Furthermore, if an individual's menopause is delayed they are at a higher risk of developing Breast Cancer. . Nulliparity or a late maternal age of the first pregnancy have also been associated with Breast Cancer.
3. When should I begin screening for Breast Cancer?
A// There are 3 methods for early detection of breast cancer:
- Self-Examination: girls can stay active in their awareness simply by monitoring their own breasts for new abnormalities. The self-examination should be done after their first menstrual period, ideally a week after their menstrual period ends.
- Getting checked yearly by a Gynecologist.
- Mammography: The gold standard in breast cancer screening. Though it’s not practiced in young women, it’s recommended for women over 50 years old and should be performed every 2 years.
*The recommended age of performing a mammography may vary depending on the risk factors of each patient, every patient should be evaluated individually.
4. When should I worry about a bump on my breast?
A// It depends, we must always take into account the risk factors and understand that every patient should be evaluated individually. For example, it’s not the same if I perceive a small bump in the breast of a 15-year-old girl, where the probability of malignancy is less than 1% than if I perceive the same bump in a 65-year-old woman for whom the probability of malignancy is over 80%. Consult a specialist immediately if you identify a mass or any change on your breast skin.
5. What are the treatment options for Breast Cancer?
A// Treatment depends on the pathological stage. It can range from just a tumor removal with some healthy tissue around it or to the entire removal of the breast, breast tissue, axillary lymph nodes, or in some cases even the membrane that covers the chest muscles.
After or even before surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormonal therapy can be performed, which fortunately have improved the prognosis.