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How is breast cancer diagnosed?


As medicine and science advance, we have more diagnostic tests available that allow us to make timely and appropriate detection, prevention and treatment, as is the example of the diagnostic algorithm for breast cancer.


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in U.S. women and the second leading cause of cancer death. It is most frequent in women aged 40 to 55 and it is estimated that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.




What are the symptoms?


Symptoms may vary according to the location and whether it is advanced or not. In some patients it is possible to observe asymmetry between both breasts, presence of mass, changes in the color and texture of the skin, and even secretions.


We must understand that there are several risk factors that can increase the probability of developing breast cancer. Among them we find the history of breast cancer in the family (mainly in the mother, sister or grandmother), genetic mutations, and the age of the first menstruation, first pregnancy and menopause.


On the other hand, obesity, alcohol, smoking, oral contraceptives, mammographic density (if it is higher, it is associated with an elevated risk because it can hinder early mammographic detection), and exposure to radiation are also aspects that have been associated with the risk of the disease. While there are some factors that are intrinsic, there are others that we can modify to decrease the risk.


Diagnosis


The diagnosis of breast cancer includes studies that serve for its prevention, since they are often performed in apparently healthy women to rule out the presence of the disease or to detect it in early stages.


The main objective of all the studies is to reduce cancer mortality through early detection.


Mammography


It is an imaging study that is recommended to be performed annually or biannually from the age of 35. It is capable of detecting precancerous lesions and cancers in early stages, thus reducing associated mortality.

Ultrasound


Compared to mammography, it has the advantage that there is no ionizing radiation, also, it is non-invasive. It can be used to complement other studies and to perform biopsies. It is the study indicated for young women or women with breasts with high density.



Breast self-examination


This method is free, available and easy to perform from the comfort of home. It can help to reach an early diagnosis, either of a benign or malignant lesion because through the test the woman knows the usual structure of the breast, which helps to later detect atypical or abnormal lesions. The recommendation is to perform breast self-examination once a month for all women over 20 years of age, including postmenopausal women



Breast biopsy


For a definitive diagnosis it is necessary to take part of the abnormal tissue through a biopsy which is later evaluated under the microscope by a specialist, who confirms (or rules out) the presence of cancerous cells and their characteristics, which are important for making decisions related to treatment and medical recommendations.


Considering how common this cancer is, we understand the importance of the diagnosis which always begins with the clinical evaluation by the doctor and continues with the previously mentioned studies, which can be combined depending on the case of each patient.


If you have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, we invite you to be part of our studies. For more information, contact us:+1 (346) 240-2608/ +1 (281) 712-8540




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