How Is breast cancer diagnostic and treated? What is the sentinel lymph node diagnosis?

Breast cancer is caused by an alteration in the cells of the breast. When the body works correctly, these cells divide to produce new cells that replace the old ones. This process is part of the body’s normal functioning and poses no risk. However, these cells may begin to divide uncontrolled and, therefore, an accumulation of breast cells occurs, known as a nodule. If these breast cells, in addition to dividing uncontrollably, are altered and acquire the ability to invade other organs or tissues of the body, then it is considered breast cancer .breast cancer is more significant in its early stage. In this sense, prevention and early diagnosis of the disease will be essential to address it.

 Breast cancer is a test called mammography ., which consists of a special x-ray of the breasts to detect lesions in the initial stages of the disease. It is a simple and painless test in which if the doctor sees something unusual or suspicious, he will order more tests to determine if it is a benign or malignant lesion. Finally, if the doctor considers it necessary, a biopsy two is performed, which consists of taking a sample of the breast cells through a small incision to analyse them.

Another method of detecting this type of cancer is self-examination, that is, self-examination of the breasts. However, self-examination has low reliability if you do not have medical knowledge. Suppose you observe abnormalities when you self-examine because it will be your doctor requesting additional tests who can determine if it is breast cancer or not. Self-examination is an excellent way to detect possible breast changes that can help early diagnosis of the disease. Therefore, a visit to the doctor is always recommended for clinical quality control and additional tests that the specialist considers.

It is considered that 90% of tumours three are detected by mammography, while less than 50% of cases 3  are located by physical examination. When specialists find malignant cells when analysing a suspicious tissue sample,  the degree of aggressiveness that this pathology can have must be measured. For this, a critical diagnosis is the study of the sentinel lymph node. Cancer cells in this lymph node are more likely to spread from a primary tumour. This means that, in the case of breast cancer, it is the first node where cancer cells would reach to spread to other parts of the body.

To better understand it,  lymph nodes are organs found in the neck, armpits, abdomen, groin, and chest, connected by lymphatic vessels. Lymph flows through them, a liquid made up of many essential substances for the survival of our body, which in turn also collects and eliminates bacteria and viruses. That is why the ganglia are an easy way to reach other body parts.

What is the sentinel lymph node diagnosis?

A substance is injected to allow the node or nodes to be extracted for analysis and identified by sight or with a probe to locate the sentinel lymph node. Once examined, no more will be removed if no tumour cells are detected. This technique is minimally invasive and helps doctors make a more accurate diagnosis of breast cancer.

 The tumour affects the node; the process of analysing others ( lymphadenectomy ) should be continued to see the extent of the tumour involvement.

One of the most common side effects of performing a lymphadenectomy is lymphedema. Because when removing the lymph nodes, the fluid accumulates and causes an increase in the size of the arm.  Other effects are numbness, tingling, pain in the area of ​​the surgery, and difficulty moving the affected part of the body.

 The  factors of this disease  are:  being an older woman having a family history, being exposed to radiation, not having been pregnant or having the first child after the age of 30, having the first menstruation at a very early age or starting menopause at a late age, and as in many other disorders, alcohol consumption and obesity. 2

Some recommendations to arrive on time and diagnose breast cancer are self-examination and seeing a specialist regularly, or when you notice any symptoms in the breast, such as nodules, retraction of the nipple or any change or alteration in the skin of the breast.

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