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Breast Cancer Essay

1774 words - 7 pages

Breast cancer continues to be the leading cause of death for middle aged women. In the past year, there were over 194,000 new cases of breast cancer in the U.S., approximately 20% of which did not access treatment in time despite the availability of educational resources. Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that develops in a female or male’s breast cells. Though the condition is not gender specific, it is most prevalent in middle aged to older women. It’s malignant foundation causes it to also conquer surrounding tissues if left untreated. The proximity of breasts to the heart and lungs is the predominant cause of the fatalities associated with breast cancer. It is informaly hereditary, as your risk of developing cancer is doubled by the rampancy of the genetic mutation in your family.
Most breast lumps are benign but it is in your best interest to be biopsied to prove otherwise. The female breast is made up of primarily milk producing glands known as lobules, small tubes that carry the milk to the nipple from the lobules called ducts, and stroma, the fatty connective tissue surrounding the ducts, lobules, and blood and lymphatic vessels. A significant majority of breast cancers begin in the cells that line the ducts and the lobules, while a small percentage start in other tissues.
The exact cause of breast cancer remains unknown, but scientists have identified a number of risk factors that increase someones chance of contracting the tumor. Factors such as age are out of a persons control, while risks like drinking habits can be modified as a preventative measure. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, as about 80% of breast cancer cases develop in women in the 50 years and older demographic. However, breast cancer is still the leading cause of death in women 40 to 45. While breast cancer is uncommon in women 35 and younger, those who have a family history of the disease are more susceptible to the disease at a younger age.
Approximately 5% to 10% of all breast cancers are hereditary. About 85% of women with breast cancer do not report a family history of breast cancer. About 5% of the other 15% appear to have a genetic mutation that sources the cancer. The risk of breast cancer is about two times higher among women who have a mother, sister, or daughter with this disease or is found in multiple family generations and is increased if the first degree relative's cancer was found before menopause and concerned both breasts.
If a woman has already had breast cancer, she has a greater chance of developing a new cancer in her previously un-affected breast that should not be confused with a cancer form that has recurred or metastasized from another location. After the original diagnosis, the likelihood of a new cancer increases by 0.5% to 0.7% each year. A prior diagnosis of a localized tumor is associated with a 10% to 30% greater risk of developing breast cancer, while a previous diagnosis of ductal carcinoma is associated...

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