October 19 is World Breast Cancer Day and at ec-europe we would like to take this opportunity to talk about this type of cancer.

Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women. This is a cancer that develops when there is an uncontrolled growth of cells in the tissues that form the mammary gland: the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk).

Breast cancer is usually asymptomatic in its early stages and is diagnosed at routine breast screening. The most common symptom is the presence of a mass (tumor), which often indicates an advanced stage of the disease. The tumor is usually of variable size, firm, painless or slightly tender, irregular, with poorly defined borders and usually of a hard consistency. A unilateral secretion is sometimes observed at the nipple. Pain, an uncommon symptom, can develop in some cases. Deformities of the breast, such as nipple retraction, and the appearance of retraction or edema of the skin (peau d’orange) are signs of advanced disease.

In a day like today we want to emphasize that breast cancer is more likely to be cured when it is caught earlier.

There are two early detection strategies for breast cancer: early diagnosis and screening. Mammography, a breast X-ray, is the best screening test for reducing the risk of dying from breast cancer. Biopsy and breast MRI are also important tests to establish the final diagnosis.

Once the patient has a diagnosis, the doctor determines the best treatment option based on the type of breast cancer, its stage, whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones, the overall health and the patient’s own preferences. There are a number of therapeutic approaches: surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal and targeted therapy that can be used individually or in combination.