7 Important facts you need to know about breast cancer
Discovering a cancer is never easy. Information, determination and courage, however, are fundamental for the early diagnosis of the disease, which guarantees good chances of recovery to patients.
We have a month, October, which is dedicated exclusively to awareness campaigns and awareness campaigns. Unimed-Rio, a medical cooperative with the largest network of physicians in Rio de Janeiro, supports this cause and bets on the actions of In order to raise awareness of the importance of prevention and early detection of breast cancer, Unimed-Rio has made available one of its professionals to clarify doubts and to provide key information on breast cancer prevention and quality of life for clients, physicians and employees. this type of cancer.
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We talked with the mastologist Luciana Boechat, a cooperative doctor from Unimed-Rio, about indispensable information and guidelines on breast cancer for women of all ages. types, and ages.
Tests make all the difference
Self-examination is key to discovering small nodules in the breasts, which may or may not have a bearing on breast cancer. in the initial stage. However, it is not the only exam that merits attention during the prevention work.
According to the mastologist Luciana Boechat, the ideal is to find the tumor when it is not palpable, that is, too small to be detected by the
Mammography, ultrasound, and MRI are complementary exams. Mammography should be done at least once a year by women over the age of 40. They are able to detect tiny tumors, still at an early stage, increasing the chances of cure.
In at-risk groups, ie women with first-degree relatives who had breast cancer before menopause, bilateral breast cancer, ovarian cancer and male breast cancer, the tests should begin 10 years before the age of the family member affected by the disease. It is necessary to repeat the procedure once a year.
Not every cyst is malignant
During self-examination, the discovery of a cyst may scare and bring to mind the worst possible scenarios. But you do not have to despair. According to Luciana Boechat, a cooperative doctor from Unimed-Rio, the cyst is only dangerous when it presents vegetation inside. A cyst, by itself, can only be a benign change in the body, with no link to breast cancer.
Changes found by mammography are classified according to type and severity by BI-RADS, which covers a scale of 0 to 6. From 1 to 3, for example, the results may indicate the existence of changes mostly benign or with low risk of carcinoma. From then on, it is necessary to perform some more tests to identify if the lesion analyzed is suspected, in fact, or not. BI-RADS 0 suggests evaluation with a follow-up examination.
"Patients also come to the clinic with breast pain." Pain is not an early warning signal. Sometimes a diet rich in xanthine, which is present in soft drinks and teas , it increases the sensitivity of this region, causing a little pain, but if the tumor starts to ache, it is certainly in an advanced stage and accompanied by many other signs, "explains the specialist.
Biopsy does not worsen cancer
There is a legend that biopsy can stimulate breast cancer metastasis when diseased cells migrate to other parts of the body. According to the mastologist Luciana, the statement has no scientific evidence. What's more, it's a safe procedure for patients who can go home on the same day.
A biopsy is needed when doctors find a suspected lesion on imaging tests or when the palpable tumor is not seen in the other tests. "If we go to surgery, the biopsy gives us a 'gold standard' idea of the diagnosis, that is, we will not be surprised. It is not a serious or worrying procedure."
Early treatment decreases sequelae
chance of cure being greater, early treatment brings fewer sequelae and harm to patients. In the early stage, cancer cells do not migrate to other parts of the body, so surgery tends to be less extensive, with almost total preservation of the breast. As time passes, however, the cancer migrates to the arm ganglia in the armpit region and can be completely removed during surgery.
In addition to aesthetic sequelae, which have been decreasing due to the progress of oncoplastic surgery, the patient may , depending on the extent of the surgery, lose strength and drainage in the affected arm of the cancer cells. It is also important to remember that, at the beginning of the disease, it is possible to start treatment without chemotherapy drugs, responsible for hair loss.
"Radiation therapy does not cause hair to fall and works very well in early cases," says Luciana Boechat.
Removal of the breasts is not mandatory
The diagnosis of breast cancer is often received as a strong blow to self-esteem, accompanied by painful images, such as in the case of total withdrawal of the breasts. But according to Luciana Boechat, mastectomy is not indicated for all women diagnosed with breast cancer, contrary to common sense.
According to the mastologist, studies prove that the radicality of the surgical procedure does not increase the chances of cure of the patient in question. For this reason, doctors choose to preserve the breast to the maximum, removing only the part that is compromised by the disease, with a margin of safety.
In addition, there are many options for reconstruction, with or without silicone prosthesis, for those who need it face a somewhat more invasive surgery.
Breast cancer is also visible
Despite being a silent disease, breast cancer is not totally invisible. Some signs and changes in the skin and breast area should be on women's warning radars.
Luciana Boechat explains that it is very common, in positive diagnoses, to observe skin retraction, spontaneous outflow of secretion - crystalline or slightly bloody - of the nipples, reddish skin with lesions and appearance of orange peel on the skin, making it rougher.
"The recommendation is to start the follow-up through a consultation with the gynecologist, who will refer you to the mastologist In cases of high risk or with these visible symptoms, I recommend that the patient seek an appointment with the mastologist as soon as possible. The most important thing is not to be afraid of the result because the diagnosis of breast cancer is accompanied by a a million possibilities for patients.It is not the end of anything, "says the doctor.
Prevention is done every day
Talking about cancer prevention is never a task fa simple. However, cases and studies give some clues as to the path to be taken. Prevention of breast cancer, for example, should be practiced daily.
According to Luciana, the path is to stick firmly on balanced diets, avoid sedentary lifestyle, and stop dangerous hobbies such as alcohol and cigarettes. A more balanced routine, with stress under control, also protects body and soul from opportunistic diseases like cancer. Also, of course, taking preventive exams is essential.
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