Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women worldwide, with approximately one and a half million new cases diagnosed each year worldwide.
The incidence of breast cancer is increasing worldwide, mainly due to an aging population, improved methods of early detection and a raise of awareness of women’s breasts to be explored on a regular basis (which is an important tool in the early detection of breast cancer).
Currently, the likelihood of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8 women throughout her life, most of which are diagnosed in an age range of between 45-65 years, although there have been reports of breast cancer in almost all ages (although breast cancer in women under 18 is an extremely rare finding).
In front of a mirror, place your arms at your sides.
Observe the form of the breasts and the surrounding area. Look for any change in the form and texture of the skin or nipple.
Next, face sideways and observe your breasts again from the left and from the right.
What should I look for?
Changes in form or size of breasts or the surrounding area.
Inflammation or reddening of the skin of the breast.
Retraction of the nipple.
Peeling of the skin of the breast or nipple.
Leakage of fluid through the nipple.
Age: The risk of breast cancer increases with age throughout life so that most cancers can develop from age 40, although there is a percentage of women (approximately 7%) who developed the disease before 40 years.
Family history: Women presenting a family history of breast cancer (especially first degree) have a higher risk of developing the disease than the rest of the population.
Personal history: When a woman has already presented a breast cancer she has an increased risk of developing a second tumor. Also, having had colon, ovarian or endometrial cancer, also increases the risk of breast cancer.
Non tumoral breast lesions: If a woman has undergone surgery for a lesion in the breast, she should ask her doctor about the need for closer monitoring, as some lesions considered benign may be at increased risk for women of developing breast cancer.
Early menarche (before 12 years old) or late menopause (after 50) present an increased risk of breast cancer.
Pregnancies: Women who have no children or who had their first pregnancy after age 35 are at increased risk for breast cancer.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: with estrogen, there is a small increased risk of developing breast cancer associated with the treatment time (the longer the time the greater the risk).
Lifestyle: tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, diets high in animal fats and stress increase the risk of breast cancer.
Continuous physical exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight and a diet low in fats and rich in fruits and vegetables decrease the risk.
Early detection of breast cancer has significantly increased the chance of cure of the disease (almost 100% in some types of tumors), also allowing the realization in most cases of a breast conservative surgery, with results very favorable aesthetically without compromising the chance of cure.
Early detection of breast cancer consists of the combination of the performance of screening mammography, clinical examination by a physician specialized in breast disease and breast self-exploration.