Oncology

Breast Cancer

What is Breast Cancer?

First, it is important to understand that a cell is the smallest unit of all living organisms. The set of cells form the tissues and these in turn form the organs of the body.

Breast cancer occurs when breast cells are disrupted and they grow uncontrollably, forming lumps called tumors that grow inside the breast and can spread through the blood or a body fluid called lymph, to other parts of the body. The most common places for breast cancer tumor cells to travel are the bones, lungs, or liver.

Hormone positive breast cancer:

Not all types of breast cancer are the same. To find out the type of cancer, the doctor analyzes the tissue from the breast biopsy along with the results of molecular studies and determines the type of cancer. 

Normally, cells can take up female hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone that circulate in the body. When estrogen binds to its receptor (like a key that goes into a lock), it signals the cell to grow. Hormone receptor positive breast cancer uses these hormones to grow faster.

Breast cancer associated with BRCA mutations:

There are many genes with different functions, among which are BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes prevent the formation of tumors, helping to repair DNA damage, this allows to keep the body healthy.

When any of these genes are altered or mutated, they do not work properly. As a result, cells are more prone to alterations that can predispose to the development of cancer.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer:

Here you will find some signs and symptoms of breast cancer: 

Diagnosis

The first step in the diagnosis of breast cancer is the detection of a lump in the breasts and / or armpits, either by a mammogram, by self-examination or by ultrasound. This lump generally appears as a painless, solid, hard, irregular, immobile and unilateral mass. 

The diagnosis of breast cancer is carried out through various tests, among which are: clinical examination, mammography, breast ultrasound, MRI, genetic marker tests, among others.


Bibliography

American Society of Clinical Oncology. Cáncer de mama: Introducción, 2019. Disponible en: https://www.cancer.net/es/tipos-de-cáncer/cáncer-de-mama/introducción

Instituto Nacional del Cáncer. Estrógeno. Disponible en: https://www.cancer.gov/espanol/publicaciones/diccionario/def/estrogeno

Delgado L, Fresco R, Santander G, Aguiar S, Camejo N, Ferrero L, et al. Expresión tumoral de HER-2, receptores de estrógenos y de progesterona y su relación con características clínico-patológicas en pacientes uruguayas con cáncer de mama. Rev Médica Urug. septiembre de 2010;26(3):145-53.

Becker S. A historic and scientific review of breast cancer: The next global healthcare challenge. Int J Gynecol Obstet. 2015;131(S1):S36-9.

Breast Cancer. Cancer.Net- American Society of Clinical Oncology. 2019. Disponible en: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/breast-cancer/view-all