Breast cancer: prevent and act in time

Did you know that the second most frequent type of cancer diagnosed in women is the breast one? After skin cancer, it is the one most commonly seen in both women and men.

In the following article we will be exploring some types, indicators and symptoms of this type of cancer.

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Many times talking about this topic brings fear to people. But finding a well-informed and preventive attitude is the best way to improve our quality of life.

Survival rates are constantly increasing, prognoses are better and better, but this process depends on two factors: knowledge of the disease and its early detection.(1) Treatments are becoming more personalized and therefore more effective.

The breast cancer incidence is much, much lower in men, but they are not free of this condition.

Treatments are becoming more personalized, and therefore more effective, but it all starts with knowledge, observation and early consultation.

But first, you have to know some basic information about this issue.

What is breast cancer?

It is a type of cancer that appears when breast cells grow out of control. They are cells that divide faster than healthy cells and accumulate forming a lump, they can spread (metastasize) or become encapsulated in the breast ducts that transport milk. It is important to be clear that most breast lumps are not cancerous.

They are abnormal but benign growths, which do not spread in the body, but must be controlled, although they are not dangerous at this stage.

Their appearance is due to a complexity of factors, and although identifiable risk factors have been detected, this does not imply that they will develop, nor that people who do not have these factors are exempt from the possibility of having them.

Types of Breast Cancer

The most common are lobular and ductal, two more frequent forms: ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive carcinoma. We will explain them very briefly.

Ductal carcinoma in situ

It is the earliest form, is not an invasive tumor, has not yet spread, and has a very good prognosis. It is located within the mammary duct. It is usually discovered on mammography and breast ultrasound. Sometimes investigating a lump discovered on breast self-examination. It needs to be evaluated and treatment determined.

Invasive carcinoma

It is a small percentage among breast cancers. Although it starts in the mammary gland (lobules), its invasiveness implies that the cancer cells have migrated to the lymph nodes and other areas. (2)

There are other types of breast cancer such as agiosarcoma, inflammatory, recurrent, Paget's disease, etc; but they are much rarer and infrequent. It is the specialist physician who deals with the specific diagnosis.

Indicators and Symptoms

The first thing to keep in mind is that many times the tumor does not become noticeable until it has advanced enough, so the only possible prevention and early detection consists of control tests, mammograms, ultrasounds and those indicated by the family doctor, performed in a timely manner and with the frequency indicated for each patient.


It is the best test for detecting cancer in its early stages, and consists of a simple X-ray test that requires no more than half an hour of time and is non-invasive.

*Breast ultrasound

This test uses sound waves and shows a computerized image of the inside of the breast. It shows possible changes in cysts, shape and size more accurately, and also changes in their composition that are more difficult to detect in mammography. It is a quick study, and absolutely painless. (3)

Both are complementary studies that should be performed without omitting one or the other, and following the criteria of the medical professional.

Alteration in the shape, size and/or appearance of the nipples

Having the necessary information and resources will allow us to discover in less time any type of problem we may have in our body.

It is always necessary to consult a health professional, a clinical doctor or a gynecological doctor for a proper diagnosis and specific studies for this area of the body.

If you have any doubts, questions or changes in your body, you should immediately go to the doctor. There are many cases in which quick access to diagnosis has solved a potential problem.

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Sources: Medineplus - Cáncer mama National Cancer Institute National Library of Medicine