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Breast Cancer Essay

1398 words - 6 pages

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that affects the glandular breast tissue and more specifically the main topic of this essay is how IKBKE and BRCA genes cause breast cancer. Breast cancer affects 240,000 women every year and less than one percent of breast cancer sufferers are males. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in North America. There are well over 2.4 million breast cancer survivors and this is due several detection techniques, including mammograms and new treatments arisen in the past decade such as radiation therapy. These treatments along with early-detection campaigns have changed the outlook of breast cancer sufferers. Currently these treatments also come with many unwanted side affects but researches are actively seeking new treatments to minimize or even eliminate these side effects with new treatment techniques. The subtopics in this essay are: the causes of breast cancer, detection techniques and the treatments.Subtopic One - Causes of Breast Cancer Nobody knows the absolute cause of breast cancer but researchers have discovered a new breast cancer gene called I-kappa-B kinase epsilon or IKBKE, which is overly active in 30 to 40 percent of women with breast cancer. IKBKE helps trigger a response to invading viruses and is normally active only in immune system cells. It has no known function in healthy breast cells, but it may signal a cell to grow out of control if a DNA mutation causes the gene to become active. Females are born with a healthy version of the gene IKBKE, but a mutation occurs during life that causes it to produce excess copies of itself in breast cells. Those who are born with this overly active gene are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer at an earlier age. The cancerous cells contained a mutation that produced 5 to 10 extra copies of IKBKE, but it remains unclear exactly how that mutation happens or what puts a person at risk of it. But researchers say developing a drug to target IKBKE should be possible.Researchers found a link between a gene called BRCA1 and breast cancer more than 10 years ago. But they did not know how mutations in this gene cause breast cancer. Men with mutations in the BRCA genes are at greater risk of breast cancer than the general population. Now researchers have discovered one way BRCA1 mutations cause cancer is by knocking out a powerful tumor suppressor gene known as PTEN. PTEN is one of the most important tumor suppressor genes altered in brain, prostate cancer and breast cancer. PTEN is now known to be mutated in about 30 percent of all cancers, making it the second most mutated gene in cancer. When PTEN is knocked out it sends a growth signal on tumor cells. Researchers know that PTEN is linked to several types of cancers including breast cancer and, the PTEN mutations promote tumor cell growth by increasing the activity of a series of different proteins. Shutting down these proteins could stop growth of cancer. Researchers have developed a therapy...

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