Breast cancer, the most common type of cancer worldwide and in Turkey, contrary to popular belief, is a nightmare not only for women but men as well. Based on the data provided by the Ministry of Health, 500 males were diagnosed with breast cancer in Turkey in 2019. Prof. Özgül Karayurt, Faculty Member from Department of Nursing, Izmir University of Economics (IUE), who stated that it was more difficult for women to detect a lump in their breasts because they had more breast tissue, said, “Since men do not have dense breast tissue compared to women, it is easily detected, however, the statistics definitely warn men about not thinking they would not develop breast cancer.”
Breast cancer, the most common type of cancer seen in women worldwide and in Turkey, affect the lives of thousands of women each year. Currently, one in every 8 women is diagnosed with breast cancer, and the experts predict that in the coming years, one in every 5 women will be diagnosed. Contrary to popular belief, breast cancer is not a nightmare only for women. While 99 percent of all breast cancer cases develop in women, less than one percent of all breast cancer cases develop in men. Based on the data provided by the Ministry of Health, 500 males were diagnosed with breast cancer in Turkey in 2019. Prof. Özgül Karayurt said, “Men should not think that they would not develop breast cancer. Just like women, men need to conduct regular breast checks and consult a doctor immediately should they see a lump or any change of that sort. The statistics published by the Ministry of Health is very significant. 500 males have been diagnosed with breast cancer in our country in 2019 alone. Women have difficulty in detecting a lump or a change in their breasts because they have dense breast tissue, but men can easily detect since they not have dense breast tissue. Men are lucky in that sense, but they, too, should perform a breast self-exam.”
‘SELF-EXAM’ ON A MODEL
Prof. Karayurt reported that they opened a booth with her students on campus in order to raise awareness on breast cancer. “We prepared ribbons and brochures with our students to raise awareness on breast cancer across the campus. We provided brief information on what breast cancer was, its symptoms, early diagnosis, and breast self-exam. We used breast self-examination model to show visitors how it should be done. This self-exam consists of ‘look’ and then ‘feel’ steps. Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Here's what you should look for: dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin, redness, and soreness, an inverted nipple, or asymmetry between two breasts. Any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood) is also very important. Next step: feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. If standing, bring your right hand behind your head and start with your left hand to feel your right breast. Use the middle three fingers, keeping them flat and together. Use a circular motion to feel the entire breast and the armpit, especially,” said Prof. Karayurt.
WATCH OUT FOR THE ARMPIT
Pointing that women should examine their armpits along with their breasts, Prof. Karayurt said, “Breast cancer can spread to any lymph nodes (armpits). It is very important to diagnose the cancer at an early stage. Compared to previous years, awareness on cancer has increased at a great extent. Print and visual media have a major role in that. We, scientists, also organize awareness events. Awareness is higher now, but still not at a desired level. Early diagnosis in breast cancer is of course important, but prevention is very crucial. Therefore, women are strongly urged to exercise at least for half an hour a day. They need to get their vitamin D levels checked, if low, get a supplement recommended by their doctors. Recent studies show that vitamin D deficiency, lack of exercise, and obesity increases the risk for breast cancer.”