Breast cancer - symptoms and diagnosis

Even without symptoms or symptoms, a breast cancer or a precursor of a breast cancer may have already formed. The range of complaints is great, which is why they can not always be clearly assigned. In the following, symptoms and diagnosis of breast cancer are explained in more detail.

Signs that indicate breast cancer

The following signs or symptoms should always be clarified by a doctor, especially if these symptoms recur:

  • Palpable hardenings
  • Tactile knots
  • Change in shape or size of a breast
  • Change of the chest in its mobility when raising the arms
  • Retractions of the skin or nipple ("orange peel")
  • Changes in appearance, color or sensitivity in certain areas of the breast
  • Fluid secretions from a nipple
  • Enlarged axillary lymph nodes
  • Gnarled axillary lymph nodes
  • Pulling or burning in a breast
  • Other pain on a breast

At best, the symptoms have a harmless cause, such as hormone-related hardening or infection. However, even with breast cancer, rapid action after onset of symptoms improves the chances of recovery of this cancer. For this reason, every woman over the age of 30 should regularly check her breast herself. This self-examination is best done once a month about a week after the start of the period. Thus, possible complaints or symptoms can be discovered.

Palpation as a self-examination

By regularly looking and palpating the woman gets to know her breast tissue very well and notices early changes that may be a sign of breast cancer. Also, the gynecologist will first examine the breasts in the comparison and palpation; this includes the palpation of the lymph nodes in the armpits.

If there is a suspicion of breast cancer or if the changes are not attributable, the doctor will initiate a mammogram. This special X-ray examination of the breast reveals tiny calcified foci (micro-calcified) as signs of remodeling, knots, thickening of the skin, and other changes in the breasts.

Ultrasound can be used to differentiate between nodules and cysts, depending on the tissue, and provides better images than mammography. In rare cases and with ambiguities still in existence, magnetic resonance imaging (mamma MRI) is also used.

Diagnosing breast cancer

With a tissue sample, the histological examination under the microscope can determine whether the conspicuous region is benign or a breast cancer. Usually, a punch biopsy is performed under local anesthesia, in which three to five cylindrical samples are punched out of the tissue using a 1.5 mm thick hollow needle.

Recently, the researchers suspect that in breast cancer in the jet tissue, the concentration of ferroportin, a transport protein for iron, too low and thus the concentration of free iron is too high. Apparently, changes in iron metabolism boost the growth of cancer cells. In the future, the determination of the iron level in tumor diagnostics could thus find an input and allow statements on the aggressiveness of the tumor and thus on prognosis.

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