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Breast cancer: symptoms, risk factors and how to prevent it


Breast cancer is the most common cancer among the female population. We know the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and how to prevent breast cancer.

Breast cancer, breast cancer or breast cancer, is the most common and diagnosed form of cancer among women. In Italy it affects one out of 9 women, especially in the population group between 35 and 55 years and with a higher incidence than in the past. Over the years, thanks also to scientific progress, many steps have been taken, but early diagnosis and prevention remain the only weapons available to combat it. We know the specific symptoms, causes, risk factors and diagnosis of breast cancer.

What is breast cancer

Breast cancer is caused by the uncontrolled multiplication of certain cells in the mammary gland that turn into malignant cells.
These have the ability to detach themselves from the mammary tissue that generated them and to invade the surrounding tissues as far as the other organs of the body. If caught early, this type of cancer can be cured. Despite the high incidence of breast cancer, it is one of the diseases with the greatest possibility of a cure, provided it is caught in time.

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Although it is a predominantly female disease, it should be specified that breast cancer can also occur among men : it is a rather rare event that affects 1 in every 100,000 individuals.

Breast cancer: the main symptoms

The first sign we need to pay attention to is the presence of lumps both in the breast area and in the armpits. In addition to this, which is undoubtedly the most frequent, other initial symptoms of the disease are serous or blood secretions, eczematous lesions, swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpits, redness or indentation of the nipple, swelling of the breast or part of it.

However, it should be specified that in most cases, breast cancer in the initial phase does not present visible symptoms, which is why it is essential to resort to prevention through breast self- examination and regular ultrasound and mammography screenings, based on the age of the patient. woman.

The main risk factors

Attention must be paid to some risk factors that can provoke the onset of the disease. Age is among the very first causes: in fact, more than 75% of cases affects women over 50. Among others, there are the presence of a case in the family (family history) and the inheritance factors dictated by genetic mutations.

Breast cancer
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Lifestyle has an important impact on the possibility of contracting the disease; in particular, the causes of breast cancer can be alcohol abuse and smoking. With them, even a bad diet can affect the onset of this and other types of cancer, it is therefore essential to have a healthy diet , which is also an effective weapon of prevention.

Obesity , especially after menopause, exposure to radiation, the onset of menopause in old age (from 55 years upwards) and having had pregnancies after 35 years are other risk factors for the onset of the disease. .

Finally, possible causes include hormone therapies , especially to treat menopausal disorders, and previous breast cancer (relapse).

How to prevent breast cancer

As anticipated, in addition to a healthy lifestyle, which includes the assumption of a correct diet and constant physical activity and avoids the abuse of alcohol and smoking as much as possible, there are pressure weapons of prevention that we must resort to. to avoid contracting the disease or discovering it in its early stage. Early diagnosis is in fact the only truly effective way to treat breast cancer and have a real chance of a complete cure.

For this reason, in addition to the self-examination of the breast to be carried out constantly, an adequate program of checks to be carried out periodically based on the age of the woman is recommended. The visit to a specialist, the breast specialist, mammography (breast X-ray) and breast ultrasound are the prevention tools we have available.

Over the years, much has been done to raise awareness of the issue and spread a culture of prevention in a widespread manner. For this reason it was decided to elect October as the month of prevention , with the aim of raising awareness among the population more and more. On the occasion of this month, screening programs and free visits are also planned, as well as the delivery of information material to promote greater awareness of the disease and the importance of early diagnosis.

If the breast cancer is benign

Breast dysplasia is a benign alteration of the breast tissues that has nothing to do with breast cancer. It is generally more common among women between the ages of 30 and 50. Among the forms of dysplasia, the most frequent is fibrocystic disease.

It can be characterized by small cysts , filled with fluid, generally the most frequent situation among women between the ages of 20 and 30, or by large cysts, with a greater incidence between the ages of 40 and 50.

Fibroadenoma, on the other hand, is the most frequent benign tumor and has a higher incidence between 25 and 30 years. It usually manifests itself as a single, rather hard and mobile lump, in most cases also painful.

Breast cancer: survival and life expectancy

Breast cancer is cured, provided, as mentioned, this is diagnosed in its initial phase. If taken at stage 0, five-year survival is 98%, with an incidence of possible relapses ranging from 9 to 30% of cases. In the later stages, the five-year survival is 75%.

In cases of metastatic cancer , which has also spread to other organs, the average survival of patients treated with chemotherapy is about two years, but it can be even longer, up to ten years.

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