Women affected by breast cancer at some time during their lives usually are not aware. This is such a shame too because breast cancer kills so many women needlessly. Only other form of cancer that even comes close is lung cancer and that can come from the exposure to a variety of particles. Why one woman receives a diagnosis of breast cancer and another woman does not is still a perplexing question. There are however, a few risk factors that statistically show up repeatedly.
- Risk of breast cancer increase with age
- Gene factors such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 are indicators
- Personal factors such as age of puberty
Few of the known symptoms include a breast lump, slight disfigurement of the breast, and nipple discharge. Women must all learn how to perform self-examination of their breasts and a medical mammography once a year as a safeguard. The mammography will help to detect any abnormalities that remain unnoticed under self-examination.
Mammography is important because it can detect the most minute disfigurement months before and this can certainly be a lifesaver for many women. Traditionally the medical community recommends this exam for all women over the age of forty, but in rare occasions it if for women under the age of forty. Much of this will depend on the family history.
Testing is very simple and painless. It is a matter of standing and remaining still while a nurse or technician places your breast between two plates. The plates press your breast into a flatten state which may be a bit uncomfortable, but it is necessary to receive a complete picture. The mammography will detect the smallest particles long before a lump appears on the breast through self-examination.
Mastectomy is the surgical removal of the lymph nodes in and around the breast tissue. This surgery is for those women who are high-risk patients and is for the last resort prevention of cancer. There are four main types of surgery that fall under mastectomy.
- Removal of breast tissue and nipple
- Removal of the breast, lymph nodes under arms and chest muscles
- Removal the tumor and surrounding breast tissue
- Removal of the breast, all lymph nodes, and the chest muscle
Medical professionals will determine which type of treatment or surgery is proper for you by determining which form of breast cancer. Many women will choose breast reconstruction to rebuild their breast after a mastectomy. Of course the decision is usually age related. The younger a woman is the more she will choose breast reconstruction. The older a woman is the less she will choose breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction is to rebuild the breast area where the original breast existed. The women notice they lack any natural sensations, but what they have is still a breast. The medical surgeon may use tissue from the stomach buttocks, or the back area, or provide the woman with an artificial implant. The artificial implants come pre-filled with salt water or silicone gel depending upon the surgeon doing the breast implant.
Women also must understand that they type of breast implant they are about to receive will also depend upon their age, body type and the additional cancer treatment they will receive. These are very crucial decisions to make and some women go into surgery with many doubts. Depending upon the type of reconstruction surgery there are added steps involved.
- Creating and adding a new nipple
- Ability to shape the newly reconstructed breast
- Performing surgery on both breasts for a more even appearance
Women and their medical surgeon have so much to discuss before the actual surgery. The women have many questions they want answers to and the medical surgeon tries to reassure the entire process will be for the best.