Pink October: Breast cancer: understand the signs of the disease during breastfeeding


Mastitis that does not heal even with medication, and lumps in the breasts even though empty of milk need to be reported to doctors.

October Rosa is known as the month of awareness about breast cancer, a disease which the National Cancer Institute (INCA) estimates will affect more than 66 thousand Brazilian women this year alone. In order for the cases of the second most common type of tumor in the country to recede, it is important to talk about non-obvious scenarios, in which the disease appears to be ruled out, but which can affect. A good example is that of mothers who develop it during breastfeeding.

Although studies prove that breastfeeding reduces the chances of the disease, it does not nullify its possibility. “It is necessary to understand that when we talk about risk or protection, we are not talking about armor. Of course, there is something that increases and decreases the risk, but it does not mean that they are isolated points of protection ”, explains Dr. Fabiana Makdissi, leader of the Reference Center for Breast Tumors at the ACCamargo Cancer Center.

The expert also points out that the lack of knowledge about gestational breast cancer, defined thus when there is an incidence of the disease in pregnancy or up to one year after delivery, makes the woman seek follow-up when the disease has already significantly evolved.

“This is the big problem that we have when we talk about diagnosis during pregnancy or breastfeeding. The patients end up coming to the doctor who treats cancer at a very advanced stage of the disease because this complaint has been neglected. Nobody thought about cancer ”, details Fabiana.

Signs that need attention

For this, it is important that you do not despair at the possibility of the disease. But keep in mind that, in the face of some signs, it is essential to seek a doctor so that he can analyze the condition.

These indications are mainly what the specialist points out as what does not pass. Mastologist Anastásio Berrettini, a member of the Brazilian Society of Mastology (SBM), cites the case of mastitis that does not heal.

“If the inflammatory process, which is very common at the beginning of breastfeeding, does not resolve with medication, the doctor must be aware of other situations, including cancer. He must do ultrasound, biopsy and even mammography to rule out the possibility ”, points out the specialist.

In addition to the perception of changes in coloring and temperature of the breast that the inflammation can bring, Fabiana completes with the warning about the nodules that mothers can feel.

At first, the question may be whether it is not just accumulation of milk. To solve it, it is necessary to be attentive if it disappears when the breast is emptied. “But if there is a lump, the baby has finished breastfeeding, the breast is flaccid, soft and he continues with that lump, a warning sign”, explains the doctor.

Along with the external changes of the breast, pediatrician Patrícia Rezende, of the Prontobaby Group, also signals changes in breast milk itself that need to be reported to the doctor who accompanies the nursing mother.

“In breastfeeding, especially in the beginning, it may happen that women have orange or pink colored milk. However, it is important for women to talk to their doctor if this persists, because any discharge of secretion of another color from the nipple must be investigated ”, she emphasizes.

Keep in mind that these signs may or may not appear together, but if only one appears, contact the pediatrician or gynecologist who accompanies you after the baby is born. Early diagnosis is essential for the cure of breast cancer!


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