Diseases of the female breast
The female breast is used in medical terminology "Mom" called. The most common breast diseases include:
Mastitis (inflammation of the breast gland)
On this overview page you will find the most important information on the clinical pictures with references to our main pages.
Overview of diseases of the female breast
The mastopathy describes benign changes in the connective tissue structure of the breasts, which usually occur on both sides and in women between 35 and 50 years of age. Mastopathy is the most common disease of the female breast, the cause is probably an imbalance in the hormonal balance.
The most common symptom is chest pain that occurs before menstruation. When palpating the chest, small nodular changes are noticed, which are often found in the upper outer quadrant. A further clarification then takes place through the mammography and, if necessary, ultrasound examinations of the breast.
Here you get to our main page: The mastopathy
Inflammation of the mammary gland occurs most frequently after childbirth and the start of breastfeeding, as the breast gland is “activated” by breastfeeding. Two out of 100 breastfeeding mothers suffer from this form of breast infection known as puerperal mastitis and mostly caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is triggered.
In most cases, it only appears on one side and is noticeable as swelling, redness, and pain. If the inflammatory reaction is pronounced, a fever may also occur, and the lymph nodes in the armpit of the affected side may be swollen.
The mother can and should continue to breastfeed, there is only a low risk of infection for the child. It is important to empty the breast regularly in order to prevent milk congestion.
For further therapy, moist alcohol compresses (have an antibacterial effect) and quark compresses are recommended. A pronounced inflammation of the breast is treated with antibiotics; if the bacteria form an abscess in the breast, the pus must be relieved by puncturing or making a small incision (under local anesthesia). Inflammation of the mammary gland can occur independently of the birth and the puerperium, albeit less frequently. The triggering pathogens are then mostly germs of the normal skin flora, the course is milder, but more chronic. A treatment attempt is made with Prolactin inhibitors (inhibit the formation of the hormone prolactin, which stimulates milk production) and antibiotics are carried out. Chronic foci of inflammation may have to be surgically removed.
Find out more about the topic here: mastitis
Fibroadenomas are the most common benign lumps in the female breast and mostly affect young women between the ages of 20 and 40. They are usually unilateral and usually do not cause any discomfort, but are painful in some cases.
When palpating the breast, one feels a round or lobule-shaped lump, which can be moved easily and is not baked to the surrounding tissue. Ultrasound and mammography can identify the nodule as a fibroadenoma in most cases and thus as benign. A biopsy and examination of the tissue should only be carried out in cases of doubt.
You can find detailed information on the subject here: The fibroadenoma
The term galactorrhea describes the leakage of breast milk from the female breast without the woman being pregnant or having recently given birth. Galactorrhea can also occur in men and children. The reason for this is usually an increased level of the hormone prolactin. This can be increased either by certain medications or by a tumor of the cerebral gland. However, galactorrhea can also be a sign of breast cancer. Most of the time, however, the cause is harmless. A doctor should always be consulted for clarification.
Further information on the subject can be found at: Galactorrhea - abnormal milk production
Breast cancer (breast cancer)
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, an estimated one in 8-10. Women will develop breast cancer in the course of their lives, and the incidence increases with age. About 5% of all breast cancers are caused by familial genetic changes. The women affected usually develop breast cancer earlier. The starting point of the malignant change is either the milk ducts (ductal carcinoma) or the glandular lobules (lobular carcinoma).
Metastases are found either along the lymphatic tract in the armpit and in the area of the collarbone or along the bloodstream as distant metastases in the bones, lungs, liver, ovaries and central nervous system. The most common symptom of breast cancer is a palpable lump; half of the malignant lumps are in the upper outer quadrant. Other symptoms include skin changes, changes in size and shape, pain, burning sensation, itching, secretions from the nipple, and swollen lymph nodes in the armpit.
The diagnosis is made using palpation, mammography and ultrasound. A biopsy (tissue sample) is then performed to determine the histological type of tissue change. Therapy and the extent of the operation are based on him. About 70% of breast cancers can be operated on while conserving the breast; in addition, the lymph nodes in the armpit are removed and then radiation therapy is always carried out. Further complementary therapy methods are chemotherapy, hormone therapy or antibody therapy, which are carried out depending on the type of breast cancer. The entire mammary gland, the lymph nodes in the armpit and the pectoral muscle fascia must be removed if the malignant lump is too large or if the breast cancer tissue type should not be operated on to preserve the breast. The prognosis of breast cancer is good if no distant metastases have been found at the time of diagnosis. In order to detect a possible recurrence at an early stage, close follow-up checks are carried out after the therapy.
Further information on the subject can be found at: Breast cancer
Cyst in the chest
Cysts are fluid-filled cavities that are surrounded by a capsule. They can appear anywhere in the body, including the chest. Generally speaking, this is usually a benign change that usually occurs during menopause. The cysts usually do not cause symptoms, but when they have reached a certain size, the patient can feel them. A gynecologist should be consulted for clarification. He can look at the cyst using ultrasound and decide which further steps should be taken.
Read more on our main page: Cyst in the chest
Diagnostics for diseases of the female breast
First of all, the detailed patient survey (anamnese) by the doctor an important building block for the detection of diseases of the female breast. Here it should above all to deal with complaints e.g.in the form of possible lumps, pain, burning, feeling of pressure or secretions from the nipples. Furthermore, previous illnesses and operations of the breast, possible breast illnesses in the family, the number of pregnancies and length of breastfeeding as well as other general complaints (such as fever, fatigue, weight loss) are indicative.
The doctor should then carefully inspect and palpate the breasts while standing, lying on your back and with the upper body bent forward (Palpation), as well as the lymph nodes in the chest area. During inspection and palpation, particular attention should be paid to asymmetries, nipple changes, redness, swelling, retractions, scars and tenderness.
Apparatus is available as further diagnostic options. First of all, the ultrasound (Sonography) due to lack of radiation exposure and invasiveness. Especially in younger patients, breast ultrasound (Breast sonography) a very good diagnostic tool for detecting diseases of the breast.
This is because younger women have very dense breast tissue and other procedures such as breast x-rays (mammography) are not very informative. However, mammography is the most important examination method for women over 30 years of age, as it is the only method that can show calcifications of the breast. These calcifications are typical of a type of breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ / DCIS).
The cheapest appointment for a chest x-ray (Mammography) is the 10th day of the cycle, since on this day the period has usually subsided and is often before the period (premenstrual) Occurring water retention, which makes the tissue less radiolucent and more sensitive to pain, only occur days later.
To clarify a nipple secretion, tumor-like changes or the contents of fluid-filled blisters (Cysts) inside the breast, samples in the form of a so-called punch biopsy or a fine needle puncture (FNP) can be removed.
Depending on what type of breast disease it is, the predictions of how the chances of recovery are very different.
So the various breast infections (Nonpuerperal mastitis, puerperal mastitis) very good due to the above Appropriate therapies will get under control and heal.
Benign tumor formations (benign tumors) of the breast have a good prognosis, although the tumor often recurs (e.g. in phyllodes tumor) can come.
In the case of breast cancer, the average survival time and the prospect of recovery vary greatly depending on the type of tumor, size, lymph node involvement and the involvement of other organs by tumor colonization.