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What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a disease that occurs as a result of a tumor caused by the change and uncontrolled proliferation of one of the cell groups that make up the breast tissue.

The cancerous tissue first spreads to its immediate surroundings and then to the lymph nodes close to the breast. In patients who are not diagnosed and treated on time, the cancer spreads to other organs and passes into an incurable stage.

The incidence of breast cancer has increased considerably in recent years. According to statistics on a global scale, the incidence of breast cancer is estimated to be around 40-50 per 100000.

In addition, according to US data, a woman's lifetime probability of developing breast cancer is expressed as 1/8. Although the incidence increases with advancing age, there are some ways to prevent breast cancer:

· Avoiding cancer-causing substances such as cigarettes and alcohol

· Eating healthy and exercising regularly

· Taking care to maintain the ideal weight

· Breastfeeding for the first 6 months for mothers who have babies

· Paying attention to the use of hormonal drugs

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

· Being woman

· Being between the ages of 50-70 and in the post-menopausal period

· Having relatives with breast cancer in the family (on the maternal or paternal side), (The closer the degree of kinship and the higher the number of relatives with breast cancer, the higher the risk).

· Having had breast cancer before

· Early menstruation, late menopause

· to have never given birth

· Having the first birth after the age of 30

· Having given birth but not breastfed the baby,

· taking long-term hormone therapy

· Living in a modern city life environment

· Using cigarettes and tobacco products

· Obesity; gaining excess weight, especially after menopause, and consuming foods rich in saturated fats

· Lack of physical activity

What are the symptoms of Breast Cancer?

The disease progresses slowly in the initial period. Therefore, breast cancer may not show any symptoms in the initial stage. Some of the most common symptoms of breast cancer can be listed as follows:

· Pain in breast tissue

· Enlargement of the breast

· Shape difference between the two breasts

· Pain that has not been felt before during menstrual periods

· Breast skin thickening or irritation

· Painless swelling or mass in the breast or armpit

· Structural differences such as nipple collapse, color change

· Redness or sore on the nipple

· Nipple peeling, rash

· Pink or red discharge from the nipple

· Weakness

· Tiredness

· Weight loss

Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Breast cancer is one of the diseases for which awareness should be raised. This is because the disease does not show symptoms in the early stages. After the age of 20, every woman should manually examine her breast once a month. If there is a difference in the breast tissue, nipple or painless swelling in the breast, the patient should consult a specialist immediately.

After the age of 40, it is very important for all women to have a mammogram at least once every 2 years for early diagnosis. If the person applies to the doctor with the suspicion of breast cancer, the physician first listens to the patient's history and performs a physical examination. The physician may request mammography, ultrasound, PET, MRI or biopsy when deemed necessary. Breast cancer treatment is based on the stage of breast cancer and the patient's current health status. Although the priority in the treatment is to protect the breast tissue, the breast tissue can be completely removed by mastectomy when necessary. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be required after surgery.

Don't forget to have mammography at regular intervals for early diagnosis of breast cancer.

Treatment Methods

The chance of success in the treatment of breast cancer is directly related to how early the cancer is detected. When detected at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate can reach 96 percent.

Surgery is the most important part of breast cancer treatment. The aim of breast cancer surgery is to remove the entire tumor from the body. Treatment methods other than surgery are aimed at preventing the tumor from recurring (recurrence) or spreading to other organs.There are basicly six types of surgery;

Segmental Mastectomy: If the cancerous part is small and its type is not very harmful, it can be done by removing only the cancerous part and shaping the breast with the remaining breast tissue.

Skin Sparing Mastectomy: If the size of the cancer is large and the type is aggressive, then it can be done by completely emptying and removing the breast.The skin can be protected with this method.

Total Mastectomy: Simple mastectomy, also defined as total mastectomy; It is the method in which all breast tissue (including nipple and areola) is removed. In this method, armpit lymph nodes and muscle tissue in the breast area are not removed. Simple mastectomy, which is frequently used in the treatment of breast cancer, is called bilateral mastectomy if it is applied to both breasts. Bilateral mastectomy is performed quite frequently in women at high risk of breast cancer.

Modified radical mastectomy:It is surgery to remove the entire breast. This includes the breast tissue, nipple, areola, skin and the underarm lymph nodes.

Radical mastectomy:It is the most extensive mastectomy procedure. Radical mastectomy removes the entire breast, including breast tissue, nipple, areola, and skin. The surgeon will also remove your underarm lymph nodes and all of the chest wall muscles under the breast.

Breast Conservation Surgery

A surgical method in which only the tumor is removed along with some normal breast tissue around it. This surgery has two purposes: First, leaving the breast in place and not deteriorating the cosmetic appearance; secondly, to ensure that the patient is affected by the physical and psychological aspects at the minimum level. After breast cancer surgery, radiotherapy can be applied for 5-7 weeks.

In the last 20 years, there have been great changes in the surgical treatment of early-stage breast cancer. As a result of studies involving thousands of patients and with a follow-up period of more than twenty years, it has been revealed that the survival rates obtained with breast-conserving surgery are equivalent to mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) in eligible patients.

Today, in breast cancer surgeries, it is not necessary to remove the entire breast, except for some medical necessity. The breast is an organ that has an important place in women's sexual identity and body perception.

With these breast cancer surgical methods called partial mastectomy, lampectomy, quadrantectomy, women avoid losing their breasts unnecessarily.

However, in some patients, it may be necessary to remove the entire breast. In this case, surgery can be performed for breast repair and surgeons can create a breast that is very similar to the natural breast.