Mammary cancer (MC) is best studied because it is sensitive to medication. No other malignant tumor has so many treatment options as this one.
Mammary cancer classification
A neoplasm of a larger size without metastatic lesion of the lymph nodes and a smaller tumor with the
- Stage I is a neoplasm up to 2 cm with «clean» lymph nodes or with microscopic (up to 2 mm) metastases in them, which are found only after the operation;
- Stage II means a more than 5 cm large tumor without lymph nodes lesion, or up to 5 cm with affected axillary lymph nodes;
- Stage III means a neoplasm of any size with involvement of the subclavian lymphatic basin in the pathological process;
- Stage IV means existence of metastases in other organs.
The stage allows planning the scope of treatment.
Operations for mammary cancer
The cancer is considered operable if it has not spread beyond the breast and axillary region, as metastases to other organs permanently exclude the surgical stage. With a malignant process in the subclavian lymph nodes, surgery is postponed and chemotherapy is performed first.
There are several main surgical interventions that differ in the amount of breast removed: an
Radical resection in combination with radiation therapy is just as effective as more extensive interventions, relapses in the postoperative scar occur often, but the
Arm edema (lymphostasis) is caused by removal of cellular tissue with axillary lymph nodes, its severity is individual and is determined by condition of the vessels in the limb and pectoral girdle.
The cause of mammary cancer (MC) lies in the imbalance of hormones produced by the sex glands, so most patients have chronic gynecological problems that are superimposed on unfavorable heredity and everyday risk factors acquired by a woman individually.
Benign processes as a risk factor for cancer
Benign mammary conditions are considered one of the causes of cancer, but this is not entirely true. Of course, they contribute to an increase in the likelihood of mammary cancer, they are even regarded as potentially malignant, since they cannot be distinguished from a cancer node in no other way except microscopic cellular composition study. Cancer and mastopathy share cell proliferation as their common cause.
Proliferation as the main cause of mammary conditions
When the hormonal balance is disturbed in the mammary gland, increased reproduction (proliferation) begins, which normally ensures the restoration of tissue when it is damaged and the cells that have depleted their vital resources die. Exposed to an excessive amount of sex hormones, the number of glandular cells increases and, if they are able to mature normally, a benign process develops called fibrocystic hyperplasia or mastopathy. If the hyperproduction of hormones stops, then the development of mastopathy is completed, and the cysts and nodules are gradually replaced by connective tissue.
Women’s life events as a cause for cancer
The level of hormones is changed throughout the entire menstrual cycle, glandular tissue responds to this with adequate changes, for this is a normal way of existence for it. But the postponement of pregnancy and childbirth for the third decade of life, pregnancies that did not result in childbirth, and short periods of breastfeeding are not provided for by the female nature.
Women who give birth after age 30 suffer from cancer thrice more often than those who give birth before age 20. Each year of breastfeeding reduces the risk of cancer by more than 4%, and the birth of another child, by 12%. If a woman gives birth to two or three children, her personal risk is reduced by half if in addition to this she breastfeeds, and the breastfeeding rate makes more than half in the total risk. Therefore, mammary cancer is a condition typical for developed countries where women give birth later and less often, and breastfeed for a short time.
Gynecological processes are also a cause for cancer
The main cause of conditions affecting
It has been confirmed that thyroid conditions, obesity and diabetes change the state and function of the reproductive organs, and indirectly affect mammary glands through sex glands. Earlier onset of menstruation and its late termination are not beneficial to the breast, and removal of the ovaries at a young age reduces the cancer risk.
Evidence of the effect of hormonal contraception on the MC development is contradictory, yet the affirmative arguments relatively outweigh the disproving ones. Hormone replacement therapy increases MC risk, but five years after taking the last pill, the risk comes to a general population level.
The national differences in incidence are probably related to nutrition and family traditions, rather than ethnic features. Granddaughters of Japanese women who have moved to the U.S. suffer from MC as often as indigenous American women, which would not have happened to them in their homeland. A greater consumption of animal fat has nothing to do with it, yet alcohol does actually increase the possibility of malignant transformation of glandular tissue.
The risk of MC is three times higher in the immediate family, especially in daughters whose mothers were affected, yet not at any age, but approaching menopause, the last menstruation in life.
There is a form of hormonal cancers of the mammary gland, ovaries and intestine inherited with special mutations of two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA 2. As a rule, such condition is transmitted down by the female line and can manifest itself in every generation, but without 100% of the condition development probability. A woman can have these genes, but never get cancer, the probability is determined individually.
The likelihood of development of the cancer process in the reproductive organs can be determined by genetic studies performed at the Clinic Medicine 24/7. The genetic profile will be used to calculate the prospects for life, and to propose a prevention program that will maximally preclude a meeting with an oncologist in the future. Sign up for a consultation:
Mammary cancer symptoms depend on the degree of the process advancement; a cancer nodule is clinically manifested in the breast only when the process is significantly large or highly aggressive. The clinical pattern of metastatic spreading depends on the anatomical area of the lesion.