Breast cancer, or What women are most afraid of
A high risk of oncology, and not the breast disease itself, is inherited only in 5-10% of all identified cases. Moreover, mutations in genes that increase the risk of breast cancer can be transmitted both maternally and paternally. In women, they often lead to the development of an oncological process, namely, to breast or ovarian cancer. Among the male population, oncological diseases associated with the mutation of these genes are much smaller. Such organs as the prostate and pancreas, testicles, intestines suffer from them.
What is sporadic cancer
Much more common is the so-called random, or in other words, sporadic cancer. It accounts for 80% of all cases of diseases and occurs against the background of a combination of certain risk factors. These are age, the time of the beginning and end of menstruation, the absence of pregnancy and lactation, obesity, radiation, and some others.
Is it worth it to remove the mammary glands “just in case”
Of course, the recent operations of Angelina Jolie, which made so much noise, could not go unnoticed among our women. But this is not the only true way to solve the problem. We do not know, and I think, will never know all the nuances of the history of this woman, therefore, judging her choice is at least incorrect.
A genetic predisposition to breast cancer is manifested by the “breakdown” of certain genes – BRCA1 and BRCA2. They control the key processes of cell division and the “repair” of damage to DNA in all body tissues. Violation of their “work” can lead to a malfunction at the cellular level in different organs. The mammary glands and ovaries are affected first. Due to the physiological cycles of the female body, activity in these organs is most pronounced: the processes of cell division in them occur regularly. Accordingly, it is these organs in women that are in the zone of particular risk. If the family, especially close relatives, had oncological diseases of the breast or ovaries, it makes sense to take an analysis to determine the mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. A positive result is not a cause for panic, but only an incentive to action. So, you need to regularly undergo examinations and monitor your health more carefully than others. A consultation with a mammologist is strictly required once a year. As well as an ultrasound of the mammary glands, which is most informative for women under the age of 40 years and mammography – starting from 40 years.
In our country, there is no law permitting a mass prophylactic mastectomy – removing healthy mammary glands in order to protect oneself from the disease. But such operations are still possible, and they are done in certain cases, only after a thorough study of the situation and the adoption of an appropriate decision by a consultation of medical specialists.
HRT and breast cancer
To accept HRT or not is a personal matter for every woman. According to statistics, there is no reliable data confirming the effect of these drugs on increasing the risk of breast cancer. The doses of hormones taken during menopause are quite small. Rather, it is a “by chance” therapy – for a good mood, for relieving flushing and irritability, for increasing skin tone. The hormones taken during HRT have no effect on the development of a tumor in the mammary glands.
Tumor markers will not detect early breast cancer
Tumor markers are special proteins that are found in tumor cells. But not only – these same proteins can be present in young, immature, but dividing cells, during organ regeneration. It also occurs with other non-cancerous diseases, for example, hepatitis, lung diseases, as well as diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, this indicator cannot be used for cancer diagnosis. Another thing is that tumor markers are indispensable in the treatment process when the cancer is already established. Changes in these indicators compared with data before therapy may indicate its effectiveness or inefficiency, and the risks of relapse of the disease. But you should be careful: monitoring before and after treatment should be carried out in the same conditions – within the same laboratory, the same research method.
Breast cancer is more common in nulliparous women
Yes, there are statistics that the earlier a woman gives birth to her first child, the lower her risk of developing a breast tumor. Therefore, late birth – after 35 years – are not welcomed by doctors. But it is important not only to give birth to a baby, but also to breastfeed it, and in this case, the longer it lasts, the better. Everything in the female body is designed for pregnancy and the bearing of the fetus, therefore, it is regularly, every month, preparing for this process. In one or another period of the female cycle, various hormones are activated. During each monthly cycle, changes occur in the mammary glands. At the slightest malfunction in the work of certain hormones, the natural process of cell division can be disrupted.