Breast Cancer EssayI) Anatomy of the breastThe breast is a gland designed to make milk. II) What is breast cancer?Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of cells. These abnormal growths are called tumors. Not all tumors are cancerous.
Non-cancerous tumors – benignCancerous tumors – malignantIf not treated the cancer may spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women and thesecond leading cause of cancer death next to lung cancer. The incidence of breast cancer is very low in women in their twenties,plateaus at 45 and the increase dramatically after fifty. Fiftypercent of breast cancer is diagnosed in women over sixty-five.III) Risk factorsEarly onset of menses/menstrual cycle prior to age 12MenopauseDiets high in saturated fatsFamily historyLate or no pregnanciesModerate alcohol intakeSmokingHistory of prior breast cancerEstrogen replacement therapyTherapeutic radiation to chest wallGene mutationsModerate obesityFemale**Every woman is at some risk for breast cancer (does not necessarily mean that just because it does not run in your family that you will not develop breast cancer – According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation 85% of women with breast cancer have a negative family historyIV) Symptoms/Early signsA lump in or near your breastA change in the size or shape of your breastVeins on the surface become more prominent on one breastDischarge from the nipple other than breast milkBreast tendernessRidges or depression/pitting of the breastA change in the way the breast feels**The earlier breast cancer is found and diagnosed, the better your chances of beating it.V) Breast cancer typesDuctal Carcinoma in-situInfiltrating Ductal – most common typeMedullary CarcinomaInfiltrating LobularTubular CarcinomaMucinous CarcinomaInflammatory Breast CancerVI) Screening and testingBrest self examBreast physical exam – help to find lumps that women may miss with their ownself-exams.Mammogram – include 2 views of both breastsdetect calcifications, cysts and fibroadenomasUltrasound – sends high frequency sound waves through the breast and convertsthem to images – complements other testingMRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging – uses magnetic fields, no radiation to createimages of the body – Not used for general screeningCAT – Computer Axial Tomography – x-ray technique in two-dimensional slicesor cross-sections.Not for routine evaluations.PET Scans – Positron Emission Tomography – patient is injected with a smallamount of radioactive material.Biopsy – a small operation that removes tissue from an area of concern from thebody to get cells for microscope analysis.Chest X-Ray – performed in those who have or ay have breast cancer to evaluatethe possibility that cancer may have spread to the lungs.Bone Scan – to determine whether cancer has spread to any part of the bonesystem.Blood Tests – there are several protein markers in the blood related to breastcancer.VII) Stages of breast cancerBreast cancer grows in stages with each stage being a more advanced formof the disease.The stages range from 0 to IV depending on which parts of the breast are affected.Stage 0 – cancer is in the lining of a lobule or duct but not has spread elsewhere.Stage I – Cancer has spread from the lobules or ducts to nearby breast tissue.Stage II – fits the criteria of stage I but the tumor size is larger.Stage III – divided into 2 categoriesStage IIIA – invasive breast cancerStage IIIB – invasive breast cancerStage IV – the cancer has spread to other organs in the body.Recurrent cancer – the disease has come back in spite of initial treatmentVIII) TreatmentTreatment options depend on a number of factors:age, menopausal status, general health, size and location of tumor,stage of the cancer, results of lab tests, size of breastSurgery – today’s surgery is precise, targeted and aims to preserve as muchof the healthy breast and surrounding areas as possible.- breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy)- mastectomyRadiation Therapy – highly targeted, highly effective way to destroy cancer cellsthat may linger after surgery.Chemotherapy – help to get rid of any cancer cells that may have spread fromwhere the cancer started to another part of the body.Hormonal Therapy – drugs used to block the effects of hormones.Herceptin – immune treatment for breast cancer.There are many claims about alternative therapies that can help fight breast cancerbut there is little research to support many of these claims.IX) PrognosisSurvival rates are based mainly on the stage of the cancer.OtherOrder now