5 ways to diagnose breast cancer early A breast cancer diagnosis early could save your life. So, we show you the most prominent ways to diagnose early breast cancer in the following:
A breast cancer diagnosis early could save your life. Here are all the ways to help you do that.
The most important thing is for every woman to know the nature of her breast tissue, knowing the structure of the breasts in different physiological periods, such as before and after menstruation, pregnant breast tissue, during breastfeeding, or taking hormonal therapy..etc.
- Knowing all this allows a woman to get to know the natural structure of the breast. The ability to know the structure and texture of the breast is possible through observation, touch in every way a woman chooses, such as when she is taking a shower or getting dressed. A woman's awareness of her breast tissue helps her notice any abnormal change.
- During the fertile period, changes in the texture of the breast tissue occur from time to time during the menstrual cycle. Glandular tissue is effective in the days leading up to your period.
- During this period, a woman feels congestion, sensitivity, and sometimes a feeling of fullness and/or a lump of tissue. These changes can be more noticeable in just one breast.
- All women, with normal hormonal activity, experience changes like this in their breasts to a different degree. At menopause, glandular tissue is replaced over the years by fatty tissue. Older women can feel hard fatty tissue below the breasts. In women taking hormone therapy, changes in the texture of the breast tissue can be expected.
Breast cancer self-examination
- It turns out that a small percentage of women do self-examination each month. There was no relationship between women's generation, occupation, years of schooling, or basic knowledge about breast cancer, and self-examination.
- It is worth taking special care of women who lack sufficient health education and providing them with information to reduce anxiety.
- There are self-examination devices for early detection of breast cancer, but their efficacy is not proven.
- After a 13-year follow-up of 500,000 women who used to undergo self-examination, no reduction in breast cancer mortality was observed. The effectiveness of self-examination was also not proven in women with a family history of breast cancer.
- Notwithstanding the above, a woman's awareness and feeling have a critical and fundamental role in the early diagnosis of breast cancer, which is the key to recovery.
- Instilling this awareness involves the role of nurses and the community, the family doctor and the surgeon. An objective and clear explanation is an essential basis of consciousness. The use of expressions of panic or fear should be avoided when conducting outreach to women.
When is it recommended to see a doctor?
Examination by a doctor is recommended when:
- Feeling of a lump, hardness, or a specific lump in the breast that you haven't noticed before.
- feeling uncomfortable.
- Unusual breast pain.
- Change in the shape of the breast, such as skin contraction, deformation, or overlapping of the nipple.
- When changes appear in the skin of the nipple/areola, and if they are associated with spontaneous bloody or watery discharge from one nipple.
Manual examination by a surgeon
A surgeon's routine manual examination does not play a significant role in the early diagnosis of breast cancer. Breast cancer in a woman is rarely diagnosed during a routine examination (usually when a woman neglects changes in the breast).
This diagnosis is often more common in women over the age of 60.
In general, it is recommended for every woman to have a routine examination once a year, starting at age 30. There are those who support conducting this examination every six months.
Women in the high-risk group should be called for screening every six months starting at age 30. The job of the surgeon is to provide a sense of security for the woman and to explain general recommendations for screening examinations. If suspicious symptoms are diagnosed during the initial examination of women, careful and wise imaging examinations should be used.
Women who have found a benign (not malignant) lesion are advised to continue to follow the recommendations of the surgeon who will decide the next step according to the type of lesion present, genetic factor, and others.
It must also be explained to women with family medical precedents, the consequences of genetic tests and their implications, and in the event of resorting to the surgical option, it must be clarified which surgery is preferred among the possible types of surgery, and an operation for women diagnosed with breast cancer of the common type must be explained. Operable.
Mammography, used as a screening test, has been in use for about 50 years. What is unique about this examination is its ability to identify small lesions or suspected malignant calcification.
A mammogram provides an x-ray doctor with visual information. Results are determined based on the doctor's experience. In many cases, the results of the examination are not specific or clear enough, therefore, another examination is conducted to complete the verification process, which is taking a sample from the suspicious part of the breast by needle biopsy, either with the help of stereotactic guidance. In which the location of the needle prick is determined with the help of X-ray images, and the other method is with the help of an ultrasound scan (Ultrasound - US). These procedures are very important, as sometimes the initial tests are diagnosed incorrectly and these tests confirm/deny the preliminary results.
In young women up to 50 years of age, it is difficult to accurately analyze the mammogram due to the proximity of the glandular tissue in the breast (which is normal at these ages). As for women with lobular breast cancer, which constitutes about 15% of the lesion of breast tumors, the diagnosis can be made by manual examination, but it cannot be confirmed by mammography.
In the past, a computerized program was developed to estimate the likelihood of malignancy, and this program helps in making the decision about the need for a biopsy.
Instead of using the program (which has not gained enough popularity), mammography analysis by an additional physician (Second Opinion) can be used. In recent years, researchers have questioned, in many studies, that early diagnosis of breast cancer by reviewing mammography increases the chances of recovery. The sure conclusion is that the chances of cure increase as a result of treating cancerous tumors by radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal and biological.
The chances of recovery still depend on early diagnosis. Early diagnosis is the result of a woman's level of consciousness, manually verified by the surgeon, and the use of a variety of imaging tests. And it is not only achieved by screening mammography. The general recommendation is to have a mammogram, from age 50 years old, once every two years.
There is an increasing rate of breast cancer in women under the age of 50, especially in Western societies. Perhaps it is time to think again and adapt these recommendations according to the developments.
For women who are at higher risk of developing breast cancer, mammograms are recommended, starting at age 40, once a year and following the recommendations of the treating doctor.
We often hear from women that the disease was discovered only after an ultrasound examination (Ultrasound - US). But the matter is not that simple, and this (US) examination is still not a screening examination for early detection, as its obvious drawback is its dependence on the Operator Dependent, like the manual examination of a doctor.
In the future, technology may enable this test to be used as a screening test. Ultrasound is currently a complimentary examination of mammography, which is used to confirm the results of X-rays, allowing easy tissue samples to be taken using a guided biopsy needle.
Therefore, when a suspicious/abnormal/unobvious breast shape is found and the mammogram is normal, then an ultrasound is done to clarify the results. Sometimes an ultrasound can diagnose noncancerous conditions, such as a cyst or a solid mass. A sample/biopsy is taken from the solid mass, for an accurate and certain diagnosis. If a mass (tumor) is diagnosed as benign, the needle biopsy examination is rarely of any clinical significance and is not needed.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is intended to screen for women aged 30 years, carriers of BRCA 1, BRCA 2, and women with a probability of 20% or more of breast cancer. To assess the extent of disease spread before surgery, or after partial resection surgery, in which the pathology indicates the possibility of tumor tissue in several additional sites. The assessment is that the use of this test will be more common in the future.
Another examination is the use of an imaging device in nuclear medicine, in molecular imaging (MBI) technology. Its advantage is the identification of small pests. Accumulated experience helps determine the actual contribution of this device to early breast cancer diagnosis.
Numerous studies, social events, associations and organizations, written media and television scripts address breast cancer and early detection methods, as well as provide articles and information about breast cancer.
Summary to diagnose breast cancer early
Breast health can be summed up in three sentences:
- Get to know your breasts, look and feel.
- For any abnormal changes, go for an examination by a surgeon.
- Follow general recommendations for routine exams and mammograms.