Benign cysts and lumps may be a predictor of breast cancer, study warns

Mammograms often detect signs of breast disease that are not cancer (Getty)

At present, most women have the habit of performing breast checkups once a year. By dint of awareness campaigns, today it is well known the importance of detecting anomalies in time that could become breast cancer.

Now, according to recent findings presented today at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona, women who are diagnosed lumps Y bumps “harmless” cells in the breasts are almost twice as likely to develop cancer.

In a study involving almost 800,000 Spanish women between the ages of 50 and 69, who had undergone breast screening at least once between 1996 and 2015, researchers found that benign breast diseases, such as cysts and other non-cancerous changes in breast tissue, highlight women who are more susceptible to developing abnormalities.

Of the total cases of breast cancer, 10.3% occur in people under 44 years of age (photo: BBC)
Of the total cases of breast cancer, 10.3% occur in people under 44 years of age (photo: BBC)

For them, the symptoms should be seen as a warning sign and they should be offered screening exams people with other risk factors, such as a family history of breast cancer, more regularly.

As they saw in the study, by 2017, 17,827 women had been diagnosed with benign breast disease and 11,708 women had been diagnosed with breast cancer. In those with benign breast disease, about 25 in 1,000 were later diagnosed with breast cancer compared with 15 in 1,000 who did not have the condition, they found in the paper, to be published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Non-cancerous growths, such as cysts and fibroadenomas, often do not require treatment and go away on their own.

Breast self-exam is a self-inspection practice that women can perform to find out the state of their breasts (Getty)
Breast self-exam is a self-inspection practice that women can perform to find out the state of their breasts (Getty)

Dr. Marta Román, from Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar, said the results added weight to the idea of ​​a personalized breast screening based on the individual risk profiles of the women. And after assuring that “this could reduce these harms and increase the benefits by helping to ensure that people most at risk receive adequate detection and treatment”, the specialist stressed that “this knowledge can be used, together with what is already other risk factors are known to help optimize the breast examination offered to women.”

“For example, if a woman is diagnosed with benign breast disease and has other high-risk factors, such as a family history of breast cancer, she may benefit from more frequent screening,” he insisted.

Breast cancer is the most prevalent tumor worldwide. This is indicated by data from the World Health Organization (WHO), which indicate that, in 2020, 2.3 million breast cancers were diagnosed, and 685,000 deaths occurred.

A family history of breast cancer is a risk factor that should be taken into account (Getty)
A family history of breast cancer is a risk factor that should be taken into account (Getty)

Of the total, 10.3% of the cases occurred in people under 44 years of age. These statistics coincide with a study carried out in Argentina with data from the Argentine Society of Mastology (SAM), in 2018, which reported that 10% of patients are up to 40 years old. That is, one in 10 cases.

Experts agree that prevention and early detection is the formula to stop the upward trend of cases -the step before the curve begins to go down- and to apply treatments in the initial stages of tumors, which is when it presents a high probability of cure.

And when you consider that almost all patients (98%) diagnosed in the earliest stage of the disease survive at least five years, compared with 25% in the later stage, the recent findings reinforce the idea that the early diagnosis it’s key.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer disease in women (Getty)
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer disease in women (Getty)

Professor David Cameron, President of the European Breast Cancer Council, said: “Mammograms often detect non-cancer signs of breast disease, such as cysts and fibroadenomas, and it is important to remember that most women with these conditions do not They will develop breast cancer.

Dr Kotryna Temcinaite, from Breast Cancer Now, said: “Every year, 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK. Breast screening is a vital tool for detecting breast cancer early, and the earlier it is diagnosed, the more likely treatment is to be successful, so we encourage all eligible women who are invited to attend.”

“We welcome research that could help identify who might be at higher risk of developing the disease, and we are currently funding studies to better understand the benefits and risks of a more personalized screening service,” she said, concluding: “ However, other risk factors, including genes, age, lifestyle, and family history, must also be considered to fully understand the likelihood that someone will develop breast cancer for a personalized screening program to be effective.” .

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Benign cysts and lumps may be a predictor of breast cancer, study warns