Breast Cancer which is seen among the women both in our country and world commonly, and the most common cause of death, arises with the uncontrolled cell proliferation in the breast tissue. Breast cancer is observed in the men more less frequently (less than 1% of all breast cancers) compared to women. The breast cancer is among the first ten most common cancers both in the world and our country. Breast cancer continues to be one of every 4 women’s cancers in our country. While the incidence of breast cancer is 47.8 per hundred thousand worldwide, it is 86.4 for Northern European countries, 43.0 for East Asia, 90.3 for the United States and 47.7 for our country.
Approximately 19.000 women are diagnosed as breast cancer in a year in our country. Breast cancer which was diagnosed at a further stage in the past, it can be diagnosed at an early stage by the effect of the screening programs carried out by our ministry and an increase in our early diagnosis rates can be achieved.
Breast cancers detected in the early stages are more successful in their treatment and their quality of life increases significantly. Because of that reason it is possible to detect cancer development at an early stage and to reduce the death rate due to breast cancer in women before clinical findings appear, in case of a possible cancer development in our women, through community-based screenings.
In our country community-based cancer screening has started by establishing Cancer Early Diagnosis, Screening and Education Centers (KETEM) then Family Health Centers (ASM) and Healthy Life Centers (SHM) are included to these screening program. Our people are being served free of charge by means of screening programs in accordance with European Union Quality Standards and our state-of-the-art digital mammography devices at the centers mentioned above. Public training and Self-Breast Examination are being given and brochure distribution is being done in these centers.
In our National Cancer Control Program; protection and prevention programs as well as the screening strategies, awareness raising activities of the public are carried out effectively.
Our women must be informed about risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment methods of breast cancer and they should be guided to healthy living conditions that will prevent cancer.
As in all cancer types; the risk of breast cancer can be reduced by consuming foods rich in vegetables and fruits and prepared under appropriate conditions, establishing healthy eating habits, increasing physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and alcohol use. It can be learned whether you are at a healthy weight by consulting your family doctor. Since there are many studies showing that breastfeeding protects against breast cancer, it is recommended that all mothers breastfeed their babies for at least 2 years.
Lifestyle-related and modifiable risk factors for breast cancer are as follows:
- Being overweight and obese
- Not doing physical activity (having a sedentary lifestyle)
- Have never given birth or have had their first birth after age of 30
- Using birth control pills and injection
- Having hormone treatment after menopause
- Having alcohol: In particular, consumption of more than 1 glass of alcohol (1 beer, 1 glass of wine, 1 double hard alcoholic beverage) per day increases the risk more.
Risk factors that cannot be changed for the breast cancer are as follows:
- Being a woman: Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than men.
- Getting older: As age increases, the risk of breast cancer increases.
- Having certain inherited genes (especially BRCA1, BRCA2)
- Having breast cancer history in the family: Having breast cancer in first-degree relatives (mother, sister, daughter) doubles the risk. It is important to note that the majority of women with breast cancer (about 8 out of 10) do not have a family history of breast cancer.
- Having cancer at one breast of the person: This case increases the risk of cancer at the other breast or at the other parts of the same breast.
- Having an intense breast tissue.
- Presence of benign formations (such as fibroadenoma) in the breast
- Early menstruation (especially before the age of 12)
- Menopause after age of 55
- Having radiotherapy to breast.
SYMPTOMS OF BREAST CANCER
Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel is an important part of breast health. Diagnosing the breast cancer early provides a successful chance for the treatment. But knowing what to look for cannot substitute for regular mammograms and other screening tests. Screening tests help to diagnose the breast cancer in its early stages before any symptoms appear. The most common symptom of breast cancer; is the palpation and feeling of a painless, growing lump (mass) in the breast. In addition, the following symptoms can also be seen in breast cancer, whether there is a palpable lump (mass) or not:
- Swelling of all or part of one breast (even if you can feel a distinct lump)
- Pain at the breast or tit
- Inflammatory condition with itching and inflammation on the breast skin (eczema)
- Inverted nipple
- Orange peel appearance at the breast
- Irritation of breast skin
- Unilateral nipple discharge (especially bloody discharge)
- Swelling in part or all of the breast, change in breast shape
- Rubescence, crusting, thickening of the breast or nipple skin
- A lump (mass) in the armpit, sometimes before a lump in the breast is felt, cancer can cause swelling or a lump in the armpit or around the collarbone.
Although any of these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than breast cancer, it’s advised to be examined to a general surgeon to find the cause, when the listed symptoms are seen.
Breast cancer may not show any symptoms until it reaches advanced stages. Because of that reason, since the above symptoms are not sufficient to make a diagnosis, it is necessary to apply to the nearest health centers. Early diagnosis of breast cancer increases the chances of success in treatment and survival. For this reason, it is recommended that all women between the ages of 40-69 have a mammogram every 2 years. The most important factor in early diagnosis, the awareness of the person on this issue, the easy acceptance of the applied method by women, the success of screening methods with having few side effects, easy application, free and economical. The following methods are taught and applied to women in our screening centers, especially for early diagnosis.
BSE is an examination method that women can easily perform at home at any time. In order to use BSE, it is necessary to receive adequate training on this subject and to apply what has been learned continuously, regularly and periodically. It is sufficient to apply to our centers to receive training.
Women should do breast self-examination every month after 20 years old. During the examination it is checked whether the image of both breasts is symmetrical by standing in front of the mirror. Nipple and skin collapse or recession, skin redness and edema are examined. With this examination, tumors close to the skin and nipples can be noticed by the woman herself at an early stage. A woman who examines herself regularly can distinguish a newly developing mass, a recession or discoloration of the breast skin or nipple, and an asymmetrical appearance. The masses that are suspicious of cancer are harder than other breast tissue (walnut-like), with indistinct borders, limited movement and usually painless. A woman who notices a mass in her breast should immediately consult her doctor. In addition, she should go to a doctor for a breast examination every two years.
Clinical Breast Examination:
Women between the ages of 40-69 should do a breast self-exam once a month and go to the doctor for a breast exam once a year.
Taking a Mammogram:
Between 40-69 years old; It is performed for early diagnosis of breast cancer in women without complaints. It has performed every 2 years. During the scan, a standard film is taken for both breasts in two positions, one mediolateral oblique (MLO) and the other craniocaudal (CC). More comfortable service is offered to our women with the digital mammography devices used today.
The treatment of each patient differs; Multiple factors such as the location of the disease, the stage of the disease, the age of the patient and the presence of other health problems are effective in the decision of the treatment. Different treatment options such as surgery, radiation therapy (radiotherapy) and drug therapy (chemotherapy) are applied in breast cancer. You can access documents for breast cancer and other cancers from the Cancer Department’s Web site and be directed to the nearest screening center by using the “Which Screening is Right for Me?” link.