Between 1980 and 2000, the incidence of breast cancer rose sharply, in part due to the generalization of screening, which led experts to declare the existence of a true epidemic. But since then this number has decreased significantly, notably due to the decrease of substitutive hormone treatments in women who have undergone menopause. According to current statistics, approximately 1 in 9 women will be affected with breast cancer during her lifetime and 1 in 27 with breast cancer will die. However, the mortality rate of breast cancer is steadily decreasing. More frequent and more efficient screenings enable early diagnosis and better prognosis. Treatments for breast cancer have also improved. Today they are more targeted and cause less undesirable side effects. Moreover, numerous researchers are developing new promising paths, like antiangiogenic treatments that aim to block the development of blood vessels that feed cancerous tumors. The genetic screening and MRI of high-risk women or those predisposed to breast cancer are also signs of significant progress.
Surgery is the main treatment for breast cancer. Depending on the size of the tumor, partial or total ablation of the breast, a mastectomy, is performed. The operation is generally associated with the ablation of axillary lymph nodes and sometimes followed by radiation therapy. Mammary reconstruction can then be planned. Anticancerous chemotherapy has achieved significant progress in the treatment of breast cancer, in addition to anticancerous hormone therapy.
Mammary reconstruction is a reparative surgical technique that allows the reconstitution of the breast and nipple after their removal. The curving contour of the breast may be reconstructed using muscle flap and skin lifted from the back or stomach, sometimes combined with the implantation of a mammary prosthesis. Three months later, the nipple and the areola are reconstructed through tattooing or a sampled skin graft from the inside of the thigh, the vulva, or the areola of the opposite breast. The operative sequelae of mammary reconstruction are quite painful.
Approximately 100 times more rare than in women, breast cancer in men is often diagnosed later, which makes it more dangerous. It generally manifests itself in a small, firm, and painless mass and is treated by surgery or hormone therapy. Male breast cancer is associated with hormonal problems or testicular illnesses.
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