Breast cancer Essay Example

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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a form of cancer that affects breast cells. Abnormal development of the breast cells causes inability to control them, thus becoming a malignant tumor. According to Christian Nordqvist from Medical News Today, there are two types of breast cancer; the Ductal carcinoma and the Lobular carcinoma. The Ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts and the Lobular carcinoma starts in the lobules. These cancer cells may pose a threat to the rest of the body if left unattended to, where they might metastasize from the breast through the lymphatic system. When cancerous cells enter the lymphatic system, they then spread to the rest of the body by gaining entry to the bloodstream, which this is called invasive breast cancer.

The causes of breast cancer are yet to be understood, but there are various risk factors, which are likely to lead to the development of breast cancer in women (84).(Kluttig and Schmidt) These risk factors include:

Genetic Mutations

It is highly likely that genetic mutations in some people increase their possibility of developing breast cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the genes highly likely to develop these genetic mutations or gene defects. The functional role of these genes is to produce proteins responsible for protecting the heart from cancer (84). (Kluttig and Schmidt) Another gene that is associated with the cause of breast cancer is TP53 (Nordqvist).

It is possible for parents to pass defective genes to their children, which increases the children’s risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, research has shown that women who have genetic mutations of such nature are more likely to develop breast cancer since the probability stands at 80%.

Menstrual Cycle, Age, and Gender

Menstrual cycle also may expose a woman to the risk of developing breast cancer to some extent. Teens who start experiencing their menstrual periods earlier than the age of twelve and women who experience their menopause very late in life, especially when they are 55 years of age and above have a percentage to develop cancer. (Kluttig and Andrea 84). There is a low risk of developing breast cancer at the age of 30, but women who are past their menopause are likely to depict advanced breast cancer cases by 3%. On the other hand, men also are at the risk of developing breast cancer, especially when they have inherited the genes from their parents (Kluttig and Andrea 84). The difference in gender is that women have a higher percentage probability of developing breast cancer compared to men.

Obesity, Estrogen, Alcohol

It is believed that women who are obese or overweight often produce more of the hormone estrogen, which is known to fuel the development of breast cancer. This idea has been met with various questions since it has not been accorded full scholarly research to substantiate the theory and practicality behind it (Wangand Ue-Lin 3884).Women who take more than three glasses of alcohol in a day are often at the risk of contracting or developing breast cancer (Nordqvist).

Radiation and Environment

People who have previously received radiation therapy to treat another type of cancer along the chest area are often at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. According to Wangand and Chung that did a study on the Relationships between Cause of Cancer and Breast Cancer Survivors, claims that pollution, stress, hormone therapy, infections, bad eating habits, smoking and lack of exercise with all other things that were just mention will increase breast cancer.

The signs and symptoms will vary from person to person, but according to Cancer Treatment Center of America and Christian Nordqvistthe more common are:

  • A lump in the breast or in the armpit, which is harder than the tissues around the area that develops, but this lump is often painless.

  • The breast starts changing in shape, size, and the nipple starts to have a rash or can sunken. Observable signs include puckering redness or dimpling of the breasts to an orange-reddish color.

  • A discharge from the nipple, possibly having blood and pus for women. For men, symptoms include breast pain, tenderness, and a breast lump

  • Pain in the breasts, discomfort, Irritated or itchy breast.

  • Armpits swelling, especially near the affected breast

Diagnosis: Exams are recommended for women over 50 years of age, and women that have a history of breast cancer in their family or when a person feels a lump in their chest area (Mankoff 276). A doctor often does a breast exam of both breasts, chest area, neck area and the armpits and there are a series of other tests that can be used, which are:

  • An ultrasound of the breast, which indicates the nature of a solid mass, lump, or cyst.

  • Breast biopsy, which may employ stereotactic, needs aspiration or even be guided by ultrasound.

  • An MRI of the Breast, which aids in detecting the lump and mammogram to show any other abnormality on the chest area.

  • To detect whether there has been any further spreading of the cancer, a CT scan may be conducted.

  • A PET scan can also be used to detect the spreading of the cancer.

  • A biopsy of the Sentinel lymph node may also be carried out to detect any spreading of the cancer to the lymph nodes.

  • It is profound to note that Biopsy is carried out in various forms where tissue samples of a lump are taken out and investigated in the laboratory using a microscope. The various forms of biopsy adopted by physicians include fine needle aspiration, core, stereotactic core, and excision biopsies

Treatment of breast cancer may be done through surgery where the cancerous tissue is removed, radiation therapy the cancerous tissue if destroyed and chemotherapy where medicines are used to kill cancer cells (Cancer Treatment Centers of America).

The best way to try to prevent breast cancer is by:

  • Exercise regularly; having a healthy diet that is filled with fruits and vegetables that are organic.

  • Limit the amounts of alcohol, red meat, processed foods or try not to have them at all.

  • Do not smoke, try to reduce your stress, and recycle to help eliminate pollution in your environment.

Works Cited

Cancer Treatment Centers of America. (2017). Breast Cancer: Integrative Treatment Program | CTCA. Retrieved July 30, 2017, from

Kluttig, Alexander, and Andrea Schmidt-Pokrzywniak. «Established And Suspected Risk Factors In Breast Cancer Aetiology.» Breast Care, vol 4, no. 2, 2009, pp. 82-87. S. Karger AG, doi:10.1159/000211368.

Mankoff, David. «Imaging In Breast Cancer – Breast Cancer Imaging Revisited.» Breast Cancer Research, vol 7, no. 6, 2005, Springer Nature, doi:10.1186/bcr1359.

Nordqvist, C. (2017). Breast cancer: Symptoms, risk factors, and treatment. Retrieved July 30, 2017, from

Wang, Hsiu-Ho, and Ue-Lin Chung. «Relationships between Cause of Cancer and Breast Cancer-Related Factors in Breast Cancer Survivors.» Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, vol 13, no. 8, 2012, pp. 3889-3892. Asian Pacific Organization for Cancer Prevention, doi:10.7314/apjcp.2012.13.8.3889.