The radiological study of the breast is vital to complete a good clinical diagnosis. In the public health of Spain screening mammograms are made every two years starting with 50 years. In other countries, such as United States, mammograms are made systematically starting within 40 years in order to increase detection rates of non-palpable tumors or lesions which are so abundant at this age. Doing routine mammograms without specific symptoms before age 40 is questionable, because it can increase the number of false positives. Obviously it is necessary to make mammograms when there is an indication of injury or tumor during clinical examination, examination that should be done on an annual basis. For young women before menopause we often add to the classic mammogram a breast ultrasound, if the gland is denser and it is possible to see better a possible injury, while other more specific tests such as MRI are only be used to confirm the diagnosis. In case of breast a lesion sign found during the testing image the biopsy is usually indicated in order to analyze the cellular component material.
The first thing you have to do when the tumor or nodule in the breast is found is to confirm its existence with a mammogram, ultrasound or both. If necessary to do a biopsy to prove their benignity. Most nodes that meet criteria of benignity, independently on biopsy confirmation, are solid fibro adenomas or simple cysts (with aqueous liquid content). These benign nodules can be surgically removed or not depending on their size (whether that size remains stable or increases) and above all on the discomfort caused to the patient.
Women wearing breast implants, even whose gland has been removed completely (by mastectomy) should follow the same clinical and radiological controls than the general population. The objective is to confirm the integrity of the prosthesis, and exclude injuries in the same mammary gland or in any other area of the chest. With modern radiologic techniques you do not have to worry about excessive breast irradiation if the post care is right, the dose accumulated over the years is minimal, and the benefits of serial mammograms go beyond the risk of overdose of radiation.
Unfortunately breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, and is considered that 1 in 9 women suffer from this disease. Most breast cancers are detected at a very early stage and current treatments make overall survival very high. For this reason when having some breast cancer history in the family, great care must be taken. Cases where family influence may have more relevance in the cancer inheritance are those cases with direct relatives (mother, sister, daughter), at young ages (under 40 years), or cases when a person has positive BRCA gene. Control of each of these patients with breast neoplasm family members should be individualized, and performed in accordance with genetic counseling.
The BRCA name comes from the first two letters of breast cancer in English (BReast CAncer). BRCA 1 is a human gene that provides instructions for making a protein that acts as a tumor suppressor.
Tumor suppressor proteins help prevent cells from growing and dividing too rapidly or in an uncontrolled way.
The BRCA 1 gene also regulates the activity of other genes.
Many of the mutations in the BRCA 1 gene are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, as well as several other types of cancer (prostate, ovaries, fallopian tubes, pancreatic cancer).