Breast cancer: how is the diagnosis established?

Breast cancer: how is the diagnosis established?

Breast cancer is the most common and deadliest cancer in women. We explain to you which signs should lead you to consult and which examinations are carried out to establish the diagnosis.

The writing of Allo Docteurs

Written on

Breast cancer: how is the diagnosis established?

One in eight women is at risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. Each year, 60,000 women are diagnosed. If it is the most common cancer in women, it is also the one that is best cured, when it is taken care of in time.

What are the symptoms ?

In some cases, breast cancer can cause the following symptoms:

size at the level of a breast, painless perceived during self-examination
deformation newly appeared breast nipple retraction or deviation
redness, edema and heat of an area of ​​the breast
– aspect of Orange peel part of a breast
pain localized breast
lymph nodes palpable in the armpits
flow greenish or blood-stained breasts

When to consult?

If you notice these symptoms, see a doctor.

Regardless of your age, it is recommended that you have your breasts examined once a year by your doctor or gynecologist.

Between the ages of 50 and 74, a free screening mammogram is scheduled every two years.

Which tests for the diagnosis?

The diagnosis is carried out in several stages.

First, the initial assessment in case of suspicion of breast cancer. It consists of a clinical examination during which the doctor examines the breasts and the armpits. During an interview, he asks the patient about her medical history and her risk factors.

Then the doctor needs the following tests:

– a mammogram of both breasts
– frequently, an ultrasound of both breasts and lymph nodes
– sometimes a breast MRI

A biopsy sample

If a lesion is suspicious, a biopsy sample is taken. This examination makes it possible to determine with certainty whether it is a cancerous lesion or not.

The tissues are studied to determine the nature and characteristics of the anomaly:

– the type of cancer
– the extent of abnormalities (helping to define the stage)
– cell characteristics
– the presence of hormone receptors (estrogen and progesterone) on cancer cells
– the presence of HER2 receptors involved in the regulation of cell proliferation

The biopsy is used to adapt the therapeutic strategy. Thus, we differentiate:

– cancers with hormone receptors sensitive to hormone therapy
– HER2 positive cancers, which can benefit from targeted therapy
– triple-negative cancers representing 10% to 20% of breast cancers: they are characterized by the absence of hormone receptors and overexpression of HER2. No targeted therapy is effective to date on these cancers.

Read also: What is a biopsy used for?

The complementary assessment once the diagnosis has been made

The complementary assessment includes several examinations that are adapted to each case: tumor extension assessment (abdominopelvic ultrasound, scanner, bone scintigraphy, etc.), cardiac assessment and blood assessment before starting treatment.

Once all the assessments have been completed, the medical team knows the exact type of cancer and its extent: size, distribution or not to the breast tissue, involvement or not of the lymph nodes and existence or not of metastases (most often in the liver, bones or lungs). It can thus offer the most suitable treatment for each case.

To not miss any health information, subscribe to our newsletter!

#Breast #cancer #diagnosis #established

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.