Cancer is not just one disease but rather a group of diseases. All forms of cancer cause cells in the body tochange and grow out of control. Most types of cancer cells form a lump or mass called a tumor. Cells from thetumor can break away and travel to other parts of the body. There they can continue to grow. This spreading processis called metastasis.
When cancer spreads, it is still named after the part of the body where it started. For example, ifBreast Cancer Essay spreads to the lungs, it is still breast cancer, not lung cancer. Another word for cancerous is malignant. So a cancerous tumor is called malignant. But not all tumors are cancer.
A tumor that is not cancer is called benign. Benign tumors do not grow and spread the way cancer does. They are usually not a threat to life. A few cancers,such as blood cancers (leukemia), do not form a tumor. Most kinds of cancer are named after the part of the bodywhere the cancer first starts. Breast cancer begins in the breast tissue.
This article refers only to breast cancer inwomen. Men can also get breast cancer, although this is rare. Women. com, pp. 6Inside the breasts are glands that produce and release milk after a woman has a baby.
The glands that makethe milk are called lobules and the tubes that connect them to the nipple are called ducts. The breast itself is made upof lobules; ducts; and fatty, connective, and lymphatic tissue. There are several types of breast tumors. Most arebenign; that is, they are not cancer.
These lumps are often caused by fibrocystic changes. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs,and fibrosis refers to connective tissue or scar tissue formation. Fibrocystic changes can cause breast swelling andpain. The breasts may feel lumpy and sometimes there is a clear or slightly cloudy nipple discharge.
Benign breasttumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast and they are not life-threatening. Lawrence, pp. 54 Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, other than skin cancer. It is the secondleading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. Many great doctors predicts that there will beabout 184,200 new cases of invasive breast cancer in the year 2000 among women in this country and about 41,200deaths from the disease.
Breast cancer also occurs among men, although much less often. Death rates from breastcancer declined significantly during 1992 to 1996, with the largest decrease in younger women– both white andblack. This decline is probably the result of better detection and improved treatment. We do not yet know exactlywhat causes breast cancer, but we do know that certain risk factors are linked to the disease.
A risk factor issomething that increases a person’s chance of getting a disease. Different cancers have different risk factors. Somerisk factors, such as smoking, can be controlled. Others, like a person’s age or family history, can’t be changed. Lee, pp. 124 While all women are at risk for breast cancer, the factors listed below can increase the chances ofhaving the disease.
Some studies suggest that long-term use (10 years or more) of estrogen replacement therapy,sometimes called hormone replacement therapy, for relief of menopause symptoms may slightly increase the risk ofbreast cancer. This risk applies only to current and recent users. A woman’s breast cancer risk returns to that of thegeneral population within 5 years of stopping ERT. Replacement therapy also lowers the risk of heart attacks andbone fractures; therefore, women should talk to their doctors about the pros and cons of using ERT. At this time,there is no certain way to prevent breast cancer. For now, the best strategy is to reduce risk factors wheneverpossible and follow the guidelines for finding breast cancer early.
A personal or family history of breast cancer maymake genetic testing an option for some women. About 50%-60% of women with certain genetic changes(mutations) will develop breast cancer by the age of 70. They also have an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Genetictesting can tell .