Breast cancer: genetic failure

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Why genetic analysis is needed

Mutation of the BRCA 1 and 2 genes in most cases leads to the development of breast cancer: in women with serious mutations in BRCA 1, 65% of cases are diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 70, with BRCA 2 – in about 40% of cases. Worst of all, these mutations can cause cancer in younger years. If a mutation of the genes of the first and second types is detected, then the risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer rises to 97%. The older the person, the greater the risk.

A genetic study is worth doing even if no one in your family has had breast cancer: perhaps the parents are still young, the disease may manifest itself in the future. It is possible that grandmothers had time to die from other causes before they had cancer.

Whether to remove the breast

When a mutation is detected, doctors sometimes advise to do a preventive bilateral mastectomy, to remove healthy mammary glands. In the US and Europe, this is a common practice, in Russia so far only a few medical institutions carry out such operations. Together with the gland, all tissues associated with it are removed, so the further development of breast cancer is impossible.

Removed mammary glands, as a rule, are replaced with endoprostheses – now there is a one-stage operation, during which the mammary glands are removed and implants are immediately placed. This avoids not only the complications associated with the development of cancer in the future, but also psychological trauma. After all, breasts are one of the sexiest parts of the female body. As clinical practice shows, only surgical complications are possible after such an operation.

On the one hand, of course, the body loses an organ. But the mammary glands, unlike most organs, have only one function – to produce milk. Removal does not affect the endocrine system as a whole.

All changes in the body of Angelina Jolie – her painful thinness, loss of working capacity and anything else – can only be commented on by her attending physician. But he, of course, will not do this: a medical secret.

I am sure that such an operation cannot affect the appearance and general state of health. Removal of the ovaries (ovariectomy) is often performed laparoscopically, is well tolerated by patients, but requires subsequent hormone replacement therapy, which will mitigate the psychological and physiological consequences of the operation – depression, panic attacks, skin deterioration and other symptoms of menopause.

What does lactation affect?

As already mentioned, the mammary glands have only one function – to produce milk. Therefore, their removal is not a disaster for the body. However, scientists have been tracking the relationship between breastfeeding and cancer risks since the 70s of the last century. That is almost 50 years. Over such a long history of observation, it was found that in women who breastfed for six months or more, breast cancer occurred 10 times less often than in non-breastfeeding women. Studies conducted in Spain in 2013 confirmed that breastfeeding reduces the amount of estrogen and prolactin, which stimulate the reproduction of breast cells, including cancer cells.

It must be understood that breast cancer can be of different types, so breastfeeding is only one of the factors influencing.

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