In the United States in 1999 alone, an estimated 43,700 people will die frombreast cancer.
It is the number two cancer killer among females ages 15 to54. On average if a woman gets this disease, their life expectancy dropsdrastically. This cancer is within the top three cancers of all women abovethe age of 15, and comprises a great amount of all health care costs in theU. S. totaling an astounding 37 billion dollars a year in direct medicalcosts. An average woman is said to have a one in nine chance of getting the cancer,but if that person had family history of the disease, his or her chances havebeen measured up to a one in six chance.Order now
Sixty-nine percent ofAfrican-American women survive from it, and there are predicted to be nearlytwo million new cases reported this year in the U. S. (Breast Cancer KeyStatistics)Breast cancer is a group of rapidly reproducing,undifferentiated cells in the area of the breast in men and women. Theearliest changes occur in the epithelial cells of the terminal end buds (TEB)of the breast milk ductal system. While the progressive steps of breastcancerare unknown, the cells in the breast trigger a reaction of cell reproduction. These new cancer cells form tumors.
If cancer cells are active or areconsidered malign, the tumor grows at tremendous speeds, and may end up inmetastasis. Metastasis is a complex process in which cells break away fromtheir primary tumors, and via the blood supply or through the lymph systemrelocate into other organs, thus spreading cancer throughout the body. Generally, if a lump is smaller than one centimeter, it is considered benign,although every woman should consult her doctor about any unusual bumps orfeeling in the chest. One sign of breast cancer results from ductal cancer inthe breast. A once hollow open tube could be completely clogged up withcancerous cells leaving an awkward feeling in the chest area. Othercomplications that result from this cancer and others are the clogging andcramming of the system (American Cancer Society, 1999: 10)Recently geneshave been named as a great cause of cancer.
It now is thought in the medicalcommunity that while there are definite environmental contributors to cancer,even those people who are exposed to few carcinogens may suffer from diseasethat runs in their families. Among the genes that are being heavilyresearchedis the gene BRCA1 (Case Studies). In one of the preliminary studies of thisparticular gene, over 250 Jewish women were discovered to have mutations inthis germ-line allele, which is a version of the trait that is passed to theoffspring through the germ line cell (or gamete). This accounts forapproximately 13% of all breast cancer patients observed.
Jewish women inspecific were used, as early on there was a definite pattern of breast cancerthrough the Jewish community especially that which lived in the UnitedStates. The specific mutation, 185delAG, was, “strongly associated with theonset ofbreast cancer in Jewish women before the age of 30. ” Scientists advanceduponthis new information of genealogical interplay, so the “New EnglandJournal ofMedicine” (NEJM) set out determined to study the overall effects ofthesegenes. In an article printed on January 18, 1996, germ-line alterations inBRCA1 were discovered in six of the 80 women surveyed who had breast cancerbut had no apparent familial history of it. Thus the scientists concludedthatmutation was not limited to women with a history of cancer. Genes are thoughtto cause five to twenty percent of all breast cancers.
A gene known as p53supposedly stalls reproduction of cells, and can even cause a cell to”commitsuicide”. Other genes that seem to accelerate growth to overtake andstick toproteins include HER2, neu, and erB2 (Fitzgerald et al, 1996). The relationbetween serum estrogen levels at a single time is linked to breast cancer,butno evidence links estrogen levels over an extended time to the risk of breastcancer. This what was thought until researchers at the “New EnglandJournal ofMedicine” proposed a study. Bone mass is a cumulative effect of estrogenonbones scientists say, and so the study focused on the more easily observeddensity and mass of bone tissue in women.
Four levels were studied, and theresearch was tallied. The risk for getting cancer in the lowest stage of bonemass was .