learn more about breast cancer and breast reconstruction
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer that affects women. Nevertheless, if it is detected in the early stages, its rate of cure can reach 90%.
For many patients, having to simultaneously face the cancer and the loss of a breast represents a psychological trauma. Immediate breast reconstruction can therefore be highly beneficial from the psychological point of view.
At the Clínica, breast reconstruction techniques are performed by highly specialised and experienced plastic surgeons.
As part of the treatment for this disease, surgery is required to remove the tumour.
Nevertheless, in 70% of cases, the breast can be preserved (lumpectomy); in the remaining 30%, the complete removal of the breast is necessary (mastectomy).
It is very important to recognise the symptoms of breast cancer because if any of them occur, you should visit a specialist in breast diseases.
The specialist will conduct an assessment and begin a deeper study, if appropriate.
The symptoms include the following:
- A small lump or mass in the breast.
- Changes in the shape and volume of the breast.
- Nipple retraction and eczema.
- Secretion of blood from the nipple.
- If you feel pain in the breast, it is likely a benign lesion, but it can be breast cancer.
- Changes in the breast skin, resembling orange peel.
Although the causes of breast cancer are not exactly known, there are a number of risk factors associated with its onset:
- Age: Most tumours appear after the age of 50.
- Having two first-degree relatives (mother, sister, aunt) who have had breast cancer, when one of the relatives with this disease is male or if the cancer had been diagnosed before the age of 35.
- Hereditary factors. Approximately 8% of cases are hereditary. Half of these cases are attributable to the mutation of two genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2. In these cases, a genetic study is recommended.
- Having the first pregnancy after the age of 30 or not having children.
- Early menstruation (before the age of 12) or late menopause (after the age of 55).
- Experiencing benign breast diseases such as atypical proliferative lesions, atypical hyperplasia and fibrocystic mastopathy.
- High fat intake, alcohol consumption, obesity, smoking and physical inactivity.
However, more than half of women with breast cancer have none of these risk factors, and women who have one or more of these risk factors do not develop the disease. Early detection systems are therefore of special importance.
After surgery, the objective for specialists is to help the patient reincorporate herself into everyday life as fast as possible.
To achieve this, they will indicate a number of self-care instructions that the patient should learn and follow at home.
Nurses at the Clínica’s Breast Disease Area help patients at all times to teach them these self-care instructions and answer any questions that may arise.
Exercises should be performed progressively following the surgery.
Extirpation of axillary lymph nodes, which is sometimes necessary to treat breast cancer, can impede the normal lymphatic drainage of the arm and cause the onset of oedema (swelling).
The instructions and measures relating to the care of the arm are essential for recovering the movement of the shoulder and preventing subsequent potential complications (e.g., restricted range of movement, infections in the arm and oedema).