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Breast cancer-causes, symptoms and treatment

Rak dojke

Breast cancer is malignant disease that in most cases requests urgent surgical intervention. In this case malignant cells are developed in breast tissue. This tissue can grow within tissue origin or to spread (metastasize) in other parts of the body. Although breast cancer is predominantly women disease, around 1% of breast cancer patients are men. Breasts are made of fat, glands and connective tissue. They have several lobus that end in lobus which end in milk glands. Small pipes goes out of many small glands, they are connected together and end in a nipple. These ducts are the place where 80 % of breast cancer occur.

What is metastasis?

The most difficult tumors are metastatic. Metastasis means that cancer is spread from place where it started in other tissues far away from original location of tumor. Metastasis means that cancer has spread from a place where it started in other tissues away from the original tumor site. The most common site for metastasis of breast cancer is in the lymph nodes under the armpit or above the key bone on the same side as the cancer. Other common sites of breast cancer metastasis are brain, bone, and liver. Cancer that spreads to lymph nodes just below the arm is still curable.

Causes and risk factors

Sex type is the greatest risk factor, because breast cancer is mainly women disease.

Age is another critical risk factor. Breast cancer can occur at any age, although the risk of breast cancer increases with age.

A woman who has a personal history of cancer in one breast has three to four times the risk of developing a new cancer in another breast or another part of the same breast.

Family history of breast cancer is also a risk factor. The most important in the assessment are first grade relatives (mother, sister). There is great interest in genes related to breast cancer. 5-10% of breast cancer is believed to be hereditary due to mutations or changes in certain genes transmitted genetically.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are abnormal genes that, when inherited, significantly increase the risk of breast cancer between 45-65%.

Hormonal influences play a role in the development of breast cancer (especially exposure to estrogen).

Breast cancer appears to be more common in countries with high intake of fat through diet, and overweight or obesity is a known risk factor for breast cancer, especially in women in postmenopausal women.

Additional risk factors include alcohol consumption and exposure to radiation (including radiation therapy).

Why is breast cancer prevention important?

With the awareness that this disease does not die if it is discovered in time, we understand the importance of breast cancer prevention. Go regularly to ultrasound and mammography that can diagnose any change. Self-examination is very important. Early detection of nodes and changes with a diagnostic examination can save your life.

Benign breast cancer

Fibrous changes in the breast are very common. Fibrous breasts are distinguished by the clod structure of the breast, with thickened tissue and are often associated with breast discomfort, especially immediately before menstruation. This condition does not lead to breast cancer.

However, certain other types of benign breast changes, such as those diagnosed in biopsy as proliferative or hyperplastic, suggest a subsequent development of breast cancer.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Early breast cancer at the initial stage usually has no symptoms or signs, although it is sometimes possible to feel a breast in the breast, which is usually not painful.

A grudge in the armpit or over the key bone that does not pass can be a sign of cancer. Other possible symptoms include breast secretion, wart invertebrates or skin changes across the breast.

Most breasts in the breast are not cancerous, but should always be assessed by a doctor.

How to diagnose breast cancer

The diagnosis of breast cancer usually consists of several steps, including breast examination, mammography, ultrasound or magnetic resonance and biopsy. Biopsy (taking a piece of breast tissue) is the only definitive way to diagnose breast cancer.

Needle aspiration consists of placing a needle in the breast and sucking some cells for examination by the pathologist. It is common practice for doctors to use this technique after finding a mass filled with liquids, and cancer is unlikely.

The doctor performs a biopsy with a special needle that takes a small piece of tissue for examination. Usually, the doctor directs the needle into a suspected area using an ultrasound or mammographic instruction. Medical specialists use this technique more and more because it is less invasive than surgical biopsy. Only a sample of tissue is obtained, instead of removing the entire clump.

The medical expert performs a surgical biopsy by making a cut in the chest and removing a piece of tissue.

No matter how the biopsy is taken, the pathologist will examine the tissue. These doctors are specially trained in diagnosing the disease by observing cells and tissues under the microscope.

If a doctor diagnoses cancer on a biopsy, the tissue will be tested for hormonal receptors. Receptors are sites on the surface of tumor cells that bind to estrogen or progesterone. In general, the more receptors, the tumor will be sensitive hormone therapy.

Breast surgery

Breast surgery is generally the first step after the diagnosis of breast cancer. In addition to this approach, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biological (immunotherapy) are also used. In fact, the combination of these approaches is most often used to treat breast cancer.

The type of surgery depends on the size and type of tumor, as well as the patient’s health and preferences.

Lumpectomy is a surgical intervention that involves the removal of carcinogenic tissue and the environment of normal tissue. This should usually be done with other therapies such as radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy or hormone therapy. This is a surgery that protects the breasts.

During lumpectomy, axillary lymph nodes (armpit glands) have to be evaluated for the spread of cancer. This can be done by either eliminating the lymph nodes or biopsy of the nearest lymph node to the tumor.

A simple mastectomy is a breast surgery that removes the entire breast, but not other structures. It is a common treatment for non-invasive type of breast cancer.

Mastectomy that saves nipples is a surgical procedure that leaves the nipple and skin in place.

Modified radical mastectomy removes breast and axillary lymph nodes but does not remove the muscles on the chest wall. Although it is almost always offered additional chemotherapy or hormone therapy, only surgery is considered adequate to control the disease if it has not metastasized.

When breast cancer is diagnosed, this requires careful monitoring of the condition of the patient for the rest of his life. After completing the treatment, regular controls should be carried out every three to six months during the first two to three years. This subsequent protocol is based on individual circumstances and received treatments.

The most important risk factors for breast cancer development are gender, age and genetics. Because women can not do anything about these risks, regular screening is recommended to allow early detection and thereby prevent death from breast cancer.

Postoperative course

After the operation of the breast, it is usual to stay in the hospital for several more days. During this period, the patient will feel pain and / or discomfort in the chest area, but at the same time he will receive pain medication in order for this phase to proceed as smoothly as possible.

It is prescribed the use of a special bra and a therapeutic sleeve whose purpose is to put compression on the hand in order to reduce swelling. Sleeve is worn only during the day. Doctors usually advise to sleep with a little raised arm, which should reduce the pressure in the arm during the night.

It is also common practice to continue treatment with an oncologist after a breast surgery and a removed tumor.

For more information, you can schedule consultations by calling the Atlas General Hospital phone number: +381 11 785 88 88.


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Atlas Opšta bolnica
Osmana Đikića 3


Osmana Đikića 3, Belgrade

1100 Belgrade, Serbia

Working hours