Breast cancer occurs as a result of unlimited and uncontrolled proliferation and growth of cells. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in the world and our country. Statistics show that one out of every eight women has breast cancer. Although the disease is so common, more than 90% of the full cure can be achieved in breast cancer caught in the early stages. While new treatment options are gradually increasing, success in breast cancer treatment passes through early diagnosis. Therefore, having regular screening examinations is extremely important in terms of early diagnosis.
What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?
The most common symptom of breast cancer is the detection of a painless mass in the breast. Apart from this, the presence of shrinkage in the nipple or skin, redness, edema, or orange peel appearance on the breast skin, and hand mass under the armpit also suggests the risk of breast cancer. When these symptoms occur, a doctor should be consulted without delay. The sooner it is diagnosed, the easier the treatment.
Is Breast Cancer an Inherited Disease?
Only 10% of breast cancers are inherited. Although it is not inherited in 20% of patients, a few people in the family have previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. 75% of patients do not have a family history of breast cancer. All women are at risk for breast cancer. One out of every eight women has breast cancer.
What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer can occur in any woman, but some factors are known to increase the risk of breast cancer. The incidence of breast cancer increases with age. Having a menstrual age before 12, having late menopause (after 55 years), never having given birth, or giving birth at a late age (after 30 years), not breastfeeding, having people diagnosed with breast cancer in the family, alcohol, and smoking, postmenopausal obesity is conditions that increase the risk. Although the effect of nutrition on risk increase is not clear, consuming too much red meat, consuming processed meat, and eating too many fatty foods may increase the risk. Eating a vegetable and fruit-weighted diet has been shown to reduce the risk of having too much physical activity.
How is Breast Cancer Screening?
Breast cancer, screening is one of the recommended cancers. After the age of 40, annual mammography and annual doctor's examination should be performed. From the age of 25, women are recommended to examine their own breasts and have a doctor's examination every 1-3 years between the ages of 25-40.
Who Should Be Screened for Hereditary Breast Cancer?
- Only people who are considered to be at high risk for hereditary breast cancer,
- Breast cancer developed in both breasts,
- Having a relative in the family who has been diagnosed with both breast and ovarian cancer,
- Having a family history of male breast cancer,
- 2 or more people have breast cancer on the same side of the family (father or mother side),
- Having ovarian cancer in 1 or more people on the same side of the family and having first or second-degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer younger than 45 years of age suggests that hereditary breast cancer may be present.
The most common genetic disorder in hereditary breast cancers is a mutation in the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 gene. 85% of people with this mutation develop breast cancer and 45% develop ovarian cancer. Therefore, preventive approaches are recommended if a mutation is detected in the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 gene.
What Should Those With Hereditary Breast Cancer Risk Do?
Preventive surgeries, drug protection, and close follow-up are recommended for these people. The most effective method is to reduce the risk with preventive surgeries. These are bilateral mastectomy, that is, removal of the breast and removal of the ovaries against ovarian cancer. In a mastectomy, there is no aesthetic problem since the skin and nipple are protected and silicone implants are placed during surgery.
Removal of the ovaries is recommended after the age of 35-40 years or after the desired number of children is made.
What are the Treatment Methods for Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a treatable disease when diagnosed early and modern treatments are used today. Successful treatment cannot be done by a single branch. For success, a multidisciplinary approach, that is, a large number of branches such as General Surgery, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Pathology, Radiology, and Nuclear Medicine, must act by joint decision. For this purpose, treatment plans should be made by discussing the patients in the tumor council.
Surgery is the main treatment for early-stage breast cancer. In order to prevent recurrence after surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and hormonal treatment are applied according to the characteristics of the tumor. In tumors that have spread to another organ (metastasized), treatment is not started by surgical method. First of all, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy are applied.
Misconceptions About Breast Cancer
If there are no symptoms related to breast cancer, there is no need to have a mammogram.
Truth: Like many types of cancer, breast cancer usually does not show any symptoms in the early stages. For this reason, women need to have regular breast examinations and periodic mammographic examinations.
Mammography is a painful procedure.
Fact: During mammography examination, the breast is squeezed slightly between the two plates in order to obtain better quality imaging by giving less radiation. According to the pain threshold, some women may feel discomfort during mammography. Most women who undergo mammography with next-generation digital mammography and tomosynthesis devices state that they do not feel pain during the procedure and that what they hear from the environment is very exaggerated.
Women with small breasts are less likely to get breast cancer.
In fact, breast size does not affect the development of cancer. The amount of mammary glands in the breast is shown to be a more effective factor than size in cancer development.
Breast cancer necessarily gives symptoms with masses in the breast.
In fact, as in many benign breast diseases, mass in the breast can be a symptom of cancer. However, breast cancer does not always give symptoms such as a palpable mass in the breast. It is also necessary to be careful against other symptoms such as withdrawal at the nipple, discharge from the nipple, redness, and thickening of the skin.
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