Breast cancer prevention.

Posted on 21/05/2024

The second most prevalent cancer in women to be diagnosed is breast cancer. Both men and women can develop breast cancer, but women are much more likely to do so. Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment have advanced thanks to significant investment for research and awareness campaigns. With earlier identification, a novel customized approach to therapy, and a better knowledge of the disease, breast cancer survival rates have improved and the number of fatalities linked to the disease is rapidly reducing.

Methods of diagnosis

Breast cancer can be diagnosed through multiple tests, including a mammogram, ultrasound, MRI and biopsy.

Diagnostic mammography

In contrast to screening mammography, diagnostic mammography takes more images of the breast. When a person exhibits symptoms, such as a new lump or nipple discharge, it is frequently used. If a screening mammogram reveals anything worrisome, diagnostic mammography may also be used.

Ultrasound

An ultrasound takes an image of the breast tissue using sound waves. An ultrasound can tell a cyst filled with fluid from a solid tumor, which is typically not cancer but may be.

MRI scan

Instead than using x-rays, an MRI creates precise images of the body using magnetic fields. Before the scan, a special dye known as a contrast medium is administered to better visualize the potential cancer. The patient receives this dye through injection into a vein. After receiving a cancer diagnosis, a breast MRI may be performed to determine the extent of the disease in the breast or to screen the other breast for malignancy.

Biopsy

A biopsy is the removal of a tiny sample of tissue for microscopic analysis. Other tests can suggest that cancer is present, but only a biopsy can make a definite diagnosis.

Latest advancements in breast cancer imaging technologies

Newer types of tests are now being developed for breast imaging. Some of these, such as breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography) are being used in some hospitals already.More researches are being going on to develop more feasible solutions for breast cancer detection.

Abbreviated breast MRI (fast breast MRI)

This is a more recent approach that utilizes an ordinary breast MRI scanner. However, compared to a typical breast MRI, fewer pictures are captured (during a shorter period of time). Similar to a conventional breast MRI, some of the images are taken before a contrast agent called gadolinium is administered through an IV line.

Nuclear medicine tests (radionuclide imaging)

A tracer—a small quantity of radioactive material—is injected into the blood for these examinations. Cancer cells are more prone to collect the tracer. The tracer in the breast can then be seen using a special camera (or other parts of the body).

A tracer called technetium-99m sestamibi is injected into the blood for molecular breast imaging (MBI), also known as scintimammography or breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI). A specialized camera is then used to see the tracer while the breast is being gently compressed. The major purposes for which this test is being examined are to monitor breast issues (such as a lump or an abnormal mammography) or to assess the severity of breast cancer that has already been identified.

Positron emission mammography (PEM)

Positron emission mammography (PEM), a more recent breast imaging procedure, combines elements of a mammogram with a PET scan. The same radioactive tracer that is put into the blood for a PET scan is used for PEM. As with a mammography, the breast is then slightly squeezed while the images are being captured. PEM may be more effective than traditional mammography at finding small clusters of cancer cells in the breast.

Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM)

This more recent procedure, also known as contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM), involves injecting an iodine-containing contrast dye into the blood a short while before two sets of mammograms are taken, each utilizing a different energy level. Any abnormal spots in the breasts can be seen on the x-rays due to the contrast. This examination can be performed to determine the extent of a tumor in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients or to obtain a better look at spots that stand out as suspicious on a regular mammography.

Elastography

This test can be carried out as a component of an ultrasound examination. It is predicated on the notion that breast cancer tumors are frequently harder and more rigid than the surrounding breast tissue. The breast is somewhat compressed during this procedure, and the ultrasound might reveal how firm a suspicious region is. This test may be helpful in determining whether the location is more likely to be a benign (non-cancerous) tumor or malignancy.

Optical imaging tests

These tests pass light into the breast and then measure the light that returns or passes through the tissue.Breast compression and radiation are not used in the procedure. Early research is being done today to see if optical imaging may be used in conjunction with other exams like MRI, ultrasound, or 3D mammography to assist find breast cancer.

Electrical impedance tomography (EIT)

Breast cancer cells are thought to conduct electricity differently than healthy cells, which is the basis for electrical impedance tomography (EIT). In order to conduct extremely minute electrical currents through the breast and detect them on the skin, tiny electrodes are applied to the skin for this test. EIT does not compress the breasts or employ radiation. This examination may prove helpful in helping to categorize malignancies identified on mammograms.

What can I do to reduce my risk of breast cancer?

According to research, even among high-risk women, changing one's lifestyle can lower the risk of developing breast cancer. Reduce your risk by:

Drink alcohol in moderation.

Your risk of developing breast cancer rises as you consume more alcohol. According to research on the impact of alcohol on breast cancer risk, the general advice is to limit your intake to one drink per day, as even little amounts raise risk.

Be sure to keep a healthy weight.

Work to keep up a healthy weight if you have one. Ask your doctor for advice on appropriate weight-loss methods if you need to. You should eat fewer calories each day and gradually increase your workout. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of strenuous aerobic activity per week, including strength training twice per week, for the majority of healthy adults.

Breast-feed.

Breastfeeding may aid in the prevention of breast cancer. The protective effect increases with the duration of breastfeeding.

Postmenopausal hormone replacement.

Combination hormone therapy may make breast cancer more likely. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of hormone therapy with your doctor. With the help of drugs and nonhormonal therapy, you may be able to control your symptoms. Use the lowest dose that works for you and ask your doctor to keep an eye on how long you're taking hormones if you believe the advantages of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the hazards.

Treatments to lower the risk of cancer

Your level of risk is influenced by things including your age, the medical history of your family, and the findings of genetic tests.There are treatments available to lower your chance of acquiring breast cancer if it is higher in you.In the event that it is determined that you have an elevated risk of breast cancer, you will often be referred for specialized genetic testing. The medical staff at these facilities should go over your treatment options with you.Surgery to remove the breasts (mastectomy) or medication are the 2 main treatments.

Conclusion

Be on the lookout for breast cancer. Consult your doctor if you detect any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes. Additionally, according on your medical history, ask your doctor when to start mammograms and other screenings.Always remember it is always better to prevent that go for cure.