Pilar RM is a Barcelonan who suffered a lot to be able to breastfeed her second child for at least four months after the birth. “It hurt a lot and even traces of blood could be seen in the milk, but they insisted that it was mastitis. When I stopped breastfeeding I thought the pain would go away, but it didn’t, and it was already so painful that I even I fainted twice.”
In the imaging tests, the breast did not show any lesions and Pilar finally went to surgeons who, upon opening her painful right breast, found a block of tissue with a good appearance and right next to it, on the side close to the lymph nodes, a aggressive adenocarcinoma. Specifically, it was a triple-negative HER2 breast cancer. The baby was already 14 months old when she received that diagnosis that today, nine years later, can explain why, despite many difficulties and complications, she overcame the tumor.
Pilar’s case is not exceptional. It is common to think first about the mastitis that in cancer when a breast has problems with breastfeeding, he explains to this newspaper Cristina Saurahead of the Breast Unit at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and the Breast Cancer Group of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO). In these cases, it is recommended to do a biopsy, which is something that “is not always done.”
This problem, which causes delays in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, could soon be solved if the positive results of a test were confirmed. innovative liquid biopsy test specific to detect circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in breast milk, obtained in a sample of 15 women. There is nothing similar to this worldwide advance in the biomedical literature, authored by a team of researchers led by Saura and Ana Vivancos, head of the VHIO Genomics Laboratory.
The team now projects a international multicenter study with a sample of 5,000 women at high risk of suffering from breast cancer, pregnant women aged 40 or over or of any age but carrying mutations that increase the probability of suffering from the disease (BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, RAD51C/D).