The most important breast cancer symptoms and risk factors

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. 1 in 8 women are at risk of breast cancer. Stating that today, it is possible to prevent this type of cancer without removing the breast with early diagnosis, experts underline that every woman from the age of 20 should self-examine once a month. Other recommendations of specialists are to have a breast examination by a surgeon once every three years from the age of 20 to 40, and once a year from the age of 40, and to have a mammogram once a year from the age of 40. According to the statistics of our country breast cancer, It is among the most common cancers in women. About 25,000 cases of breast cancer occur annually. Although this figure increases by 2% every year, the number of breast cancer cases seen in our country is less than in western countries.

Risk factor in breast cancer

Early menstruation and late menopause: Menstrual onset before age 12 and menopause after age 50 increase the risk of breast cancer.

A diet high in saturated fat: Types of oils are important. Monounsaturated fats such as canola oil and olive oil do not increase the risk of breast cancer, while foods such as corn oil and meat do.

Family history in breast cancer: Those with a family history of breast cancer are at high risk of developing the disease. However, 85% of women with breast cancer do not have a family history of breast cancer.

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To have given birth late or not at all: Pregnancy up to age 35 is somewhat protective. Nuns have a high risk of breast cancer.

Moderate alcohol intake: Drinking more than 2 glasses of alcohol per day.

Estrogen therapy: Most studies show that more than 10 years of estrogen intake is associated with a small increased risk of developing breast cancer. However, these studies emphasize that estrogen intake also reduces the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and colon cancer.

Past breast cancer history: Patients with previous breast cancer have a higher risk of developing cancer in their other breasts. This risk is 1% per year or 10% for life. The reason for clinical follow-up after breast cancer diagnosis is not only to detect recurrence of the disease but also to detect early cancer that may arise in the other breast.

Woman: Being a woman increases the risk of developing breast cancer. But for every 100 women with breast cancer, 1 man will have the same disease.

Radiation therapy for Hodgkin’s disease: Patients who have undergone radiotherapy to the chest have a high risk of breast cancer after about 10 years. Early diagnosis should be given importance to patients in this group.

Moderate obesity: The relationship between obesity and breast cancer is mixed, but it is associated with high risk.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

In breast cancer, some changes can occur in the breast. Women should pay attention to the following during self-examination:

  • Difference in breast and nipple A mass or thickness near the breast and/or armpit
  • Tenderness of the nipple
  • Change in the appearance of the breast and nipple
  • A change in the size and shape of the breast
  • Inversion of the nipple
  • Scaly, red or swollen breast skin or tip (orange peel appearance)
  • Spontaneous, unilateral, bloody or white discharge from the nipple
  • Small dissimilar and clustered calcifications (microcalcifications) on mammography

Although there is no pain/soreness due to the mass in early breast cancer, a doctor should be consulted if pain in the breast or any other symptom persists. Mostly, the pain associated with the mass is related to the sudden formation of cysts in the breast.

Breast cancer in all its details in 25 questions: Answers to frequently asked questions

How is breast control done?

The most important step of early diagnosis is self-control at home. By manually examining the breast, it is possible to discover a cancerous mass that has reached at least 1 cm in size with this method. There are also certain symptoms, women with these symptoms should see a specialist without wasting time.

  • Breast enlargement, deformity or color change
  • Inward retraction of the nipple, collapse
  • A hard mass in the breast or armpit
  • nipple discharge
  • Orange peel image on breast

Breast cancer can occur in all women!

Breast cancer can occur in all women, but some factors are known to increase the risk of breast cancer. The incidence of breast cancer increases with age. Age of onset of menstruation before 12, late menopause (after 55 years of age), never giving birth or giving birth at a late age (after 30 years of age), not breastfeeding, having a family history of breast cancer, alcohol use, smoking and menopause conditions that increase the risk of obesity.

Nutritional recommendations against breast cancer;

Although the effect of diet on increasing the risk is not clear, excessive consumption of red meat, consuming processed meat and a high-fat diet may increase the risk. It has been shown that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits and high physical activity reduce the risk. In addition to regular exercise, women’s consumption of certain foods such as garlic and green leafy vegetables has proven to be effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer.

  • Maintain your ideal weight.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake. If necessary, do not consume more than 1 glass.
  • Studies show that breastfeeding women have a lower risk of developing breast cancer than other women.
  • Thanks to the polyphenols it contains, green tea shows protective properties from breast cancer.
  • Medium-sized fish should be consumed 1-2 times a week.
  • Low-fat milk, yoghurt, cheese and dairy products rich in calcium are very important for the prevention of breast cancer.
  • There are studies reporting that carotenoids found in yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables such as carrots, capsicum and sweet potatoes may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  • Diets rich in vegetables, low carbohydrates and little red meat have been associated with a significantly lower risk of developing estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer.
  • Definitely stay away from full-fat foods, fried foods, smoked and salted pickled meats, and barbecued meats, which have a cancer-increasing effect!

What are the treatment methods in breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a curable disease if diagnosed early and used today’s modern treatments. Successful treatment cannot be done by a single branch. For success, many branches such as General Surgery, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Pathology, Radiology, Nuclear Medicine must act by making a joint decision. For this purpose, patients should be discussed in the tumor council and treatment plans should be made.

The main treatment for early-stage breast cancer is surgery. In order to prevent recurrences after surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy are applied according to the characteristics of the tumor. In tumors that have migrated (metastasized) to another organ, surgery is not performed, but chemotherapy and/or hormonal treatment is applied.

What should people do with breast cancer in their family?

It should be noted that; Only 10% of cancers are inherited. In 70-75% of cases, there is no one in the family who has been diagnosed with breast cancer before, so all women are at risk for breast cancer. Preventive surgeries, drug prevention and close follow-up are recommended for people at risk of hereditary breast cancer. The most effective method is to reduce the risk with preventive surgeries.

Breast cancer treatment guide: Which is the most successful treatment method?

It is a treatment that is on the agenda with the example of Angeline Jolie and allows many women to win the battle against breast cancer by becoming conscious and courageous. These methods are bilateral mastectomy, that is, removal of the breast and removal of the ovaries for ovarian cancer. Since the skin and nipple are protected in mastectomy and a silicone implant is placed during surgery, there is no aesthetic problem. Removal of the ovaries is recommended after the age of 35-40 or after the desired number of children has been produced.

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