Recognize breast cancer symptoms and take proper precautions

Among other factors, hormones, lifestyle and hereditary predisposition influence the development of breast cancer.

Every woman hopes not to be confronted with it: the diagnosis of breast cancer. But the earlier the disease is detected, the higher the chances of cure. DONNA explains methods for early detection. What symptoms to look out for.

Medical progress in recent decades has not only led to better treatment methods for breast cancer, but also to more effective early detection. According to information from the "Center for Cancer Registry Data" at the Robert Koch Institute, in Germany about 70.000 new cases per year, making breast cancer the most common cancer in women.

The tricky thing: In the early stages, there is usually no pain or discomfort. But there are symptoms and signs that can indicate a possible disease. If they appear, however, there is no need to panic. First contact your gynecologist. Have the symptoms clarified. From a certain age, it is also advisable to take advantage of regular examinations for early detection, which are even legally anchored in the Social Code in Germany. In addition to regular breast cancer checks, in families with a history of breast cancer it is also advisable to clarify whether there is a hereditary risk. First of all: Every woman is different. The symptoms are not the same for everyone. Basically, however, women should pay attention to the following:

Nodes in the breast do not have to mean the worst, but can be caused by benign changes such as lipomas (benign fatty growths) or fibroadenomas (benign lumps of glandular and connective tie). Especially before menstruation, there is a hormonal cause for nodular tie compaction, which disappears again afterwards. However, special care should be taken with newly appearing, permanent lumps or indurations in the breast, but also in the armpit. In about half of those affected, the tumors occur in the upper outer area of the breast, in about 15 percent of women in the inner upper area.

Swelling in the armpit are often the result of an infection – but can also indicate lymph node metastases and should always be clarified.

Differences in shape or size of the breasts are mostly natural. However, if they change newly or react differently when the arms are raised, a gynecologist should be consulted.

There are some changes in the nipples, for which a certain alertness should be given: These include retractions in parts of the nipples or sinking in, as well as inflammation of the entire nipple. Also in need of clarification are secretions – especially if the secretion is bloody and only one breast is affected.

Skin changes on the breast can also be possible signs of breast cancer. This includes the so-called "orange peel skin", in which the skin becomes very large-pored, as well as spot-like contractions of the breast skin and small punctiform dimples. Furthermore, in the case of new skin redness and scaling that does not disappear, as well as inflammation of the skin, a visit to the gynecologist is recommended.

That the breasts – especially before menstruation – are taut is not unusual. However, should there be unilateral burning pain or pulling If the symptoms do not subside, it is also important to have them checked by a specialist.

Early detection and prevention

Strictly speaking, early detection examinations are always only snapshots of the state of health, which cannot provide any information about future developments. Nevertheless, the terms preventive care. early detection in today's parlance used synonymously. But which examinations are useful -. What can I do myself?

Many women discover lumps in the breasts themselves, for example when showering or putting on cream. German professional societies recommend a monthly Self-examination, which does not replace preventive examinations at the gynecologist or a possible mammography screening, but leads to a better body feeling and sensitizes for changes. you can do in good light in front of the mirror Form. Consider the appearance of the bust. Afterwards, raise both arms and look for abnormalities and differences in the behavior of the breasts. At Palpation while standing or lying down proceed as follows:

– First, while standing, place the flat tips of the three middle fingers in the outer upper quarter of the breast – Now systematically palpate the breast in a spiral pattern, from the outside inwards or in lines – Then lightly squeeze the nipples between the thumb and index finger and check for any fluid that may be leaking out – Repeat the procedure while lying down, stretching out one arm and also palpating the armpit well

If you need help, just ask your gynecologist for guidance. The best time for self-examination – especially during menopause – is about a week after the start of the last menstrual period, as the breast tie is particularly soft and not too knotty due to hormonal factors.

Breast cancer screening at the gynecologist

Even if you feel confident with self-examination, a gynecologist should perform cancer screening at least once a year for women over 30 and palpate mammary glands as well as the lymph nodes of the armpits, collarbone and breastbone. The statutory health insurance companies cover the costs of this regular early detection examinations. As part of preventive care, women between the ages of 50 and 69 can have a mammography performed every two years in addition to the palpation examination. X-ray examinations are one of the most important methods of early breast cancer detection, as they can reveal changes before the onset of the disease, such as microcalcifications. Of course, the findings can also be harmless. In such a case, certainty can only be obtained by means of a Biopsy (Tie removal).

Other examination methods used in the detection of breast cancer include ultrasound examinations, the so-called Sonography, and the Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These methods are primarily used for women who have a family history of breast cancer or who have been diagnosed with a genetic mutation known as the BRCA1 or BRCA2 cancer gene.

TV& cinema, stars& Starlets, consumer, health and travel tips – Claudia is on the go at many sites. Their backgrounds are as varied as their topics. When the multicultural journalist is not in her Bavarian homeland, she loves to stroll around in world history.

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