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Atrial Myxoma: Cancer Research Essay

786 words - 4 pages

The cancer I chose to research is Atrial Myxoma. This is the most common form of primary heart tumors. These occur largely in adults, more specifically women. The age range is predicted to be three to eighty-three years of age. In sporadic cases, the mean age is fifty-six. In familial cases, the mean age is twenty-five. Seventy-five percent are found in women. Most of these tumors are benign, meaning they can be removed without causing death or serious injury to one’s body.
There are two different places where this cancer can be found; the left Atrium and the right Atrium. This cancer is found about eighty percent of the time in the left Atrium and about seven to twenty percent in the right Atrium. Tumors found in the left Atrium usually begin in the wall that divides the two upper chambers of the heart. This wall is called the Atrial Septum.
Atrial Myxomas are closely related to an autosomal-dominant syndrome called Carney Complex (CNC). The Myxomas occur in the setting of spotty skin pigmentation and endocrinopathy. The molecular analysis shows that mutations in PRKARIA are responsible in up to two-thirds of patients with CNC. This syndrome is genetically heterogeneous and is caused by a defect in more than one gene.
Unlike CNC, most Atrial Myxoma cases are sporadic. The underlying cause is unknown. One in ten of these tumors are familial, meaning they have been passed down by family. They tend to occur in more than one part of the heart at one time and often show signs and symptoms at a younger age. They have an autosomal dominant transmission, meaning that one regular gene is paired up with a mutant gene and copied. It has a fifty percent chance of being passed down through family.
These tumors are usually round and oval-shaped. They are gelatinous with a smooth or lobulated surface and the color ranges from white, yellow, and brown. The mobility depends on the length of the stalk and the extent of attachment. Sometimes this tumor can break off and fragments can move through the eyes and brain.
Left Atrial Myxomas produce symptoms when they reach around seventy grams. Right Atrial Myxomas take up to twice as long before they become symptomatic. The tumors vary widely in size, they can be one to fifteen centimeters in diameter. The rate of growth is not known. Twenty percent of cases are...

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