Every 8th woman is diagnosed with breast cancer: what symptoms you cannot ignore.

breast cancer in woman
Every eighth woman is diagnosed with breast cancer once in her life. Breast cancer cells are by far the most common cancer among women in the world. Recognized early, it is curable. What signs and symptoms to look out for in addition to how to prevent them.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the world, It is more common in young women than other cancers.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Doctors, therefore, recommend women to regularly examine themselves from the age of 25.

Breast cancer is tricky because it expresses itself for a long time without recognizable symptoms. A tumor often only manifests when women feel their breasts. A tumor can only be identified with a diameter of one centimeter. Doctors advise women to look out for the following warning signs:
  • Nodular thickening or hardening in the chest or armpit
  • Distinctions in shape or size of the breasts
  • Retraction of a nipple
  • Clear or bloody secretions from a nipple
  • Indentations of the breast skin in one area, orange skin or tiny dimples in the skin
  • Skin soreness or molting
  • Independent burning pain or pulling

Causes as well as danger elements of breast cancer

The risk of developing breast cancer increases steadily from the age of 25. According to data get from the Robert Koch Institute, women aged 65 to 69 have the highest risk.

There are also a number of various other elements that affect the risk of a tumor. These include hormones, predisposition and personal lifestyle.


Lack of workout and obesity enhances the risk of establishing breast cancer cells. Exercise is, therefore, a factor in preventing breast cancer. According to the Geonym medical organization, women who are physically active for 30 to 60 minutes a day have a 20 to 25 per-cent lower risk of breast cancer. It could be a sport or a quick walk. It also helps not to smoke and to reduce alcohol consumption as much as possible. For women, therefore, there should be at most one glass of wine a day.

Diet also has a significant impact on cancer risk. A balanced diet of lots of berries, fruits and vegetables, especially cabbage, has a positive effect. Whole grains, legumes and nuts should also be on the menu - but meat and sausages only two to three times a week. You can also support your health by replacing animal oils with vegetable oils. According to the experts, this not only helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer but also prevents other types of cancer.

According to the gynecological cooperative, the female body needs folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, prebiotics, probiotics and phytoestrogens. These are contained in soy, for example. Women should also avoid chronic stress and ensure healthy and restful sleep.

The female sex hormones estrogen and progestin also play a role in the development of breast cancer. The longer the hormone levels fluctuate each month, the higher the likelihood of illness. Therefore, according to the Robert Koch Institute, early menstruation and late menopause increase the risk. Hormone replacement therapies can also increase risk. Mothers who also breastfeed their children are at lower risk than childless women. So the more children and the longer the lactation period, the lower the risk of illness.


There are also risk variables over which we have no control, such as age or genetic predisposition. Approximately five to ten out of 100 breast cancer patients have so-called risk genes that trigger breast cancer. The best known are BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA: Breast Cancer Gene, English for breast cancer gene). Around 50 to 80 per-cent of women with such a gene mutation will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Therefore, despite all preventive measures, the disease cannot be avoided.

In recent years, survival and the chances of cure for breast cancer have improved significantly. One of the reasons for this is that breast cancer is usually discovered earlier today. The health insurance companies regularly pay for early diagnosis examinations. Women between the ages of 30 and also 49 and also from the age of 70 can go for a tactile examination once a year. Females between 50 and 69 years old can likewise have a mammography screening performed annually.

Breast cancer therapy

Since the biology of breast cancer can differ greatly, medication does not work the same for every patient but must be selected based on the molecular properties of the disease.

Based on these findings, breast cancer treatment has made tremendous progress. The three most common therapies that are often combined in breast cancer are:
  1. Surgery
  2. Radiotherapy
  3. Medicines, including chemotherapy drugs, anti-hormonal drugs, targeted therapeutic agents

Breast cancer surgery less radical

boobs cancer

Today, women and doctors affected by the disease want to avoid stressful interventions such as mastectomy (amputation) as well as the removal of the lymph nodes in the underarm. "The goal is to operate on breast-conserving surgery," says oncologist Olaf Wortmann.

In the past number of years, it has really been possible to complete equally as likelihoods of recovery or far better opportunities of healing with less radical medical therapy than with radical procedures. Currently, only 20 per-cent of cancer patients have their breasts removed; previously, this affected more than half of the patients' sick women.

Today, many women can already be offered the so-called sentinel lymph node biopsy instead of an extended lymph node removal. In a few years, it could also be possible that if there is no evidence of lymph node involvement, the corresponding armpit no longer needs to be dealt with surgically. The removal of the lymph nodes around is commonly related to numerous problems, such as lymphedema.

Irradiation is becoming more effective.

After the breast-conserving operation, radiation therapy is usually said to destroy remaining cancer cells. There are three innovations in this treatment method:
  1. Radiation therapy can be shortened from six to almost three weeks today, reports Olaf Wortmann.
  2. This is also made possible by methods of partial breast radiation or the integrated boost radiation. It is particularly intense. This is an additional, short but higher dose extra radiation.
  3. Intraoperative radiation therapy is innovative. It can prevent recurrences. "Even during the tumor operation, the area is irradiated for 30 to 45 minutes," reports Olaf Wortmann about this new therapy option, which he also helped develop.

Chemotherapy no longer has to be in any case.

Most breast cancer therapy consists of the triad of surgery, radiation and drug treatment. When chemotherapy is required, different cytostatic are often combined to target cancer in its different stages of development. Therapy is possible by infusion, but sometimes also in tablet form.

In many cases, treatment with cytostatic can even be omitted, for example, if the cancer is at a very early stage - or if it has certain biological characteristics that make it vulnerable to other drugs. These are anti-hormonal drugs, for example.

Improved anti-hormonal therapy with new active ingredients

Breast cancer is often hormone-sensitive, which means that it has receptors for estrogen or progesterone. So these hormones are fueling its growth. If they are blocked, tumor growth is slowed down. This works with anti-hormonal drugs such as aromatase inhibitors. Several anti-hormonal therapies in succession would often successfully treat women with metastatic breast disease over long periods with very few side effects, reports Olaf Wortmann.

Targeted therapy with new active ingredients, even for advanced breast cancer

In other forms of breast cancer, the cells have HER2 receptors. The acronym stands for human skin development aspect receptor 2. HER2 receptors are binding sites for growth elements that lead to the cancer cells dividing rapidly. Here, oncologists use antibodies that block these receptors, such as the well-known trastuzumab and a newer active ingredient, epratuzumab.

CDK4 inhibitors (cyclin-dependent kinases) are also promising, says the cancer specialist. These are inhibitors that break the cell cycle of the tumor cell. They are suitable for consolidated treatment with anti-hormonal compounds from advanced, metastatic breast cancer that is sensitive to hormones.
Gentler than chemotherapy

What is particularly positive about these relatively new cancer drugs is that they cause fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

Incidentally, immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors, which is playing an increasing role in other common cancers such as skin cancer, is even less suitable for most forms of breast cancer (until now). Immunotherapy appears to be an option only for the very rare but aggressive triple-negative breast cancer (no receptors for estrogen, progesterone and HER-2).

Chances of recovery over 90 per-cent

All of these innovations dramatically improve the prognosis for breast cancer. "In all stadiums, the chances of survival after ten years are on average 80 per-cent," says Olaf Wortmann. If breast cancer is diagnosed early and is still less than two centimeters, over 90 per-cent of people are still active after 15 years.

Find breast cancer features and choose the right therapy.

The therapy of bust cancer is coming to be a lot more effective: more gentle for the individual, yet extra effective versus the cancer cells. "The biology of this heterogeneous condition is playing a significantly crucial role," summarizes the oncologist. In line with the molecular properties of the tumor, doctors determine the individually appropriate therapy schedule for the patient.



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