Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women over the age of 25 worldwide.
In Mexico, breast cancer has shown an increase in both incidence and mortality rates and some 6000 women die of the disease each year in this country.
As with all cancers the prognosis depends on the clinical stage at the time of diagnosis, the earlier it is diagnosed the more likely it is to be cured.
For treatment it must be understood that not all cancers are the same and treatment depends on many factors.
And to start talking about treatment, we must remember that the ONCOLOGIST is the only one indicated to treat this disease. Studies show that the results are significantly better in terms of survival, speed in reaching a diagnosis and even more economical, avoiding wasting time and resources on studies that are not necessary if an oncologist assesses it from the moment cancer is suspected.
There are three "oncology specialists", the medical oncologist provides chemotherapy, immunotherapy with antibodies and other medical treatments, the radiation oncologist plans and administers the radiotherapy treatments and the surgical oncologist is in charge of the surgical treatment.
In order to successfully treat a patient we collaborate between many specialists in addition to oncologists, we work with psychologists, nutritionists, reconstructive surgeons, etc.
Talking about breast cancer treatment is very extensive but on this occasion we will talk about diagnosis, in other publications we will talk about diagnosis, procedures and special studies.
Once we have a suspicion of breast cancer, either by any imaging study, the first thing we have to do is to corroborate the diagnosis for which a biopsy has to be performed, this refers to taking a piece of tissue to analyse it under the microscope.
TYPES OF BIOPSIES.
When the tumour is palpable, a TRUCUT or cutting needle biopsy can be performed in the office under local anaesthesia with minimal discomfort. and very low complication rate, we sometimes use ultrasound guidance to localise small tumours.
If TRUCUT biopsy is not possible, an open biopsy can be done by taking a small piece of the tumour.
in the case of small tumours that are palpable, the entire tumour can be removed surrounded by a margin of healthy tissue and a transoperative examination can be performed.
When the tumour is not palpable but suspicious calcifications are seen on mastography, we ask a radiologist to place a mark on the tumour and remove the tissue around the mark, this is called a stereotaxic labeling biopsy.
Once the sample has been obtained, it is analysed under a microscope to check whether it is cancer, the type of tumour and special studies to see if it is sensitive to hormone and other treatments.