Clinic and diagnosis of breast cancer
Most women go to the doctor with complaints about the appearance of a lump in the breast. However, due to the widespread mass screening of the population, the tumor is increasingly detected during screening studies. Most breast tumors are benign and are usually cysts, fibroadenomas and nodal mastopathies.
Although an experienced oncologist usually makes the correct clinical diagnosis, all breast tumors should be considered potentially malignant and a histological examination is always necessary. In some cases, the tumor develops unnoticed, and women complain of local pain, discharge, or bleeding from the nipple. Sometimes there are painful or swelling in the armpit.
Among the signs that allow to suspect a malignant breast tumor are the following: asymptomatic, non-palpable, but typical on the roentgenogram, characterized by microcalcification, which manifests as a radiant shadow; unusual changes in the mammary gland and noted by the patient, or signs of a local disease.
The latter include the presence of a tumor fixed to the skin or to the chest wall, an increase in axillary or supraclavicular lymph nodes, signs of an orange peel symptom, nipple retraction, and skin infiltration. Usually, a cancer is a solid or compacted mass, although sometimes this symptom is manifested in a simple cyst.
Recently, women have begun to turn to the doctor more often in a relatively early stage of the disease, but sometimes they deliberately hide the tumor, which can last for years, until it turns into a solid mass of fast-growing tissue. Fortunately, now this rarely happens. Women can consult a doctor with symptoms characteristic of secondary lesions, such as, for example, the appearance of metastases in the spine or in the brain.
Metastases in the spine lead to back pain that develops during compression of the spinal cord. The presence of more common symptoms, such as fatigue and loss of appetite, may indicate a far-reaching tumor spread process that may affect the liver.