Gómez Sugrañes Mª Teresa
¿Qué es el cáncer de mama?
El cáncer de mama consiste en un crecimiento anormal y desordenado de las células de este tejido.
Anatomía de la mama
La mama está formada por una serie de glándulas mamarias, que producen leche tras el parto, y a las que se les denomina lóbulos y lobulillos.
Los lóbulos se encuentran conectados entre sí por unos tubos, conductos mamarios, que son los que conducen la leche al pezón, durante la lactancia, para alimentar al bebé.
Las glándulas (o lóbulos) y los conductos mamarios están inmersos en el tejido adiposo y en el tejido conjuntivo, que, junto con el tejido linfático, forman el seno.
A modo de muro de contención, actúa el músculo pectoral que se encuentra entre las costillas y la mama.
La piel recubre y protege toda la estructura mamaria.
El sistema linfático está formado por recipientes y vasos o conductos que contienen y conducen la linfa, que es un líquido incoloro formado por glóbulos blancos, en su mayoría linfocitos. Estas células reconocen cualquier sustancia extraña al organismo y liberan otras sustancias que destruyen al agente agresor.
- Tumores benignos
- Tumores malignos
- Tipos de cáncer de mama
- ¿Es una enfermedad frecuente?
- TNM Classification
What are risk factors of breast cancer?
- Sex: breast cancer is found mainly in women.
- Age: older women are more likely to develop cancer. 60% of breast tumours occur in women of more than 60 years of age.
- Genes: there exist two identified genes which, when undergoing some type of change (mutation), are associated with a higher likelihood of breast cancer. These genes are known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, and according to some studies it seems likely that 50% to 60% of women who have inherited these mutated genes may develop cancer before the age of 70.
- Family background: if a close relation(mother, sister, daughter) has had breast cancer, the risk of developing a cancer is doubled. This risk increases only slightly if a distant relation (grandmother, aunt, cousin) has had breast cancer.
- Personal background: although moderate, risk appears to increase in those women who have a large number of mammary ducts. For those women who have already suffered cancer in one breast, the chances of developing the disease in a second breast is different from the recurrence or reappearance of the first cancer.
- Race: white Caucasian women are more likely to suffer from this disease than black women. Those with the lowest risk of suffering from cancer are Asian or Hispanic women.
- Menstruation: the earlier that periods begin (before the age of 12) the greater the risk of cancer (from two to four times higher). As regards the menopause, those women who undergo the menopause later in life (after the age of 55) are at greater risk. Pregnancy after the age of 30 also incurs a greater risk of developing the disease. However, these factors frequently have little incidence on the risk of developing cancer.
- Lifestyle: hormone replacement therapy (long-term risk increase in suffering from breast cancer), alcohol, excess weight, etc.
- Symptoms of breast cancer
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
In its early stages, breast cancer in women does not often present symptoms. The first sign is frequently the appearance of a lump,which when touched feels different from normal mammary tissue. It is often hard, has irregular edges and is painless. Changes in skin colour and tautness around the affected area may sometimes be noticed. In its early stages, the lump may feel loose and can be moved with the fingers. Subsequently, the tumour adheres to the chest wall or the skin and becomes fixed.
Other symptoms may be painful nipples, rashes, cracking or reddening of the skin, and secretions from the nipple that are not maternal milk.
- Regular self-examination
- Diagnosis at the clinic: Various techniques exist for the diagnosis of breast cancer:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Other tests
What is the treatment of breast cancer?
Treatment will be determined by the size of the tumour and its extension to ganglia or other parts of the body. Generally speaking, when a tumour is less than 1cm, surgery is sufficient for removing the cancer, without chemotherapy, although this is not the most frequent case. At present, the most important factor for prognosis is still axillary lymph nodes gangliar affectation: the number of affected ganglia help the gynecologist to decide on subsequent treatment.
After treatment for the removal of breast cancer, the patient is subject to strict monitoring over a 5-year period. At the end of this time, she must have the same regular check-ups as any healthy patient.
For the first two years, the patient should be physically examined every three months and have a mammogram every year.
For the remaining three years, physical examinations should be carried out every six months, together with the annual mammograph.
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