Breast cancer is a disease where malignant cells, cancer cells, will develop in the breast tissue. The breasts are also named mammary glands and are formed by ducts and lobes and each mammary gland is made out of 15 to 20 segments named lobes that are composed in smaller segments named lobules.
Among the risk factor for breast cancer we will find old age, women that have no children or have their first child at a very old age, use of hormonal preparations, radiation therapy, alcohol consumption and Caucasian race. It is strongly advised that investigations shall be made yearly for detecting breast cancer and there is a variety of tests and procedures that may be utilized. We can have a mammography that is a radiological exploration of the breast or a biopsy within which fragments or cells will be taken from the tumor tissue for a more thorough examination under a microscope by a pathologist, in order to detect changes. If there are traced unusual formations in the breast it will be required to make an incision to remove a portion of that formation and to define its structure and if those are discovered to be cancer cells there are further investigations that need to be made to verify and detect if those cancer cells have spread within the breast or other parts of the body. Such a process is named staging and the results from it will important in knowing the stage of development of the disease thus leading to an appropriate therapy.
Most patients with breast cancer will require surgery to remove the malignant tissue of the breast and also during the intervention it may be needed to remove some or all affected breast lymph nodes for a further investigation under a microscope to detect any malignant cells. The breast conservatory surgery is an intervention that will remove the malignant tissue from the breast but without totally removing the breast, named a lumpectomy.
Preventing such horrible intervention we may undertake a mammogram, which is a special type of x-ray of the breast made with social equipment that may reveal tumor that are often too small to be palpated. This is the best radiological method available nowadays that may detect breast cancer early and it is an indispensable method for a woman older then 40 years to have an increased risk breast cancer. You may feel stressed or fearful about the prospect of performing such an exam and finding a tumor but the procedure itself is relatively simple, most of the cells are not malignant and will not turn out in malignant diseases or disorders and at the same time over 90% of them are curable if they are detected in an early stage and treated promptly.
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