Facts And Statistics Of People With Breast Cancer

1466 words - 6 pages

According to statistics found on cancer.gov, around 233,000 women in the US will develop breast cancer in 2014, with over 40,000 people expected to die from it in 2014 alone (cancer.gov, 2009). With numbers this large, breast cancer is quickly becoming a heart breaking tragedy for too many families. And the worst part about it is that there is no long term cure for cancer, even if doctors are able to remove the tumor they found from your body, there is no guarantee that another one won’t form or grow.
Proto-oncogenes are the genes tasked with the important job of controlling how often and how quickly cells divide. These genes can mutate into a different kind of gene known as oncogenes, and ...view middle of the document...

Around 12% of women will develop breast cancer at some point during their life, but if you are a women unlucky enough to have a mutated BRCA gene that percentage jumps greatly (cancer.gov, 2014). Cancer.stanford.edu reports that people that inherit a mutated BRCA 1 gene are at a 65% lifetime risk for breast cancer, while people who inherit a mutated BRCA 2 gene are at a 45% lifetime risk (cancer.stanford.edu). It is estimated that only about 5-10% of breast cancer cases are believed to be inherited (breastcancer.org, 2014). Other factors include, but are not limited to, if and at what age a woman has kids, certain types of birth control taken, using hormone therapy after menopause, alcohol and tobacco use, and weight problems like being overweight or obese (cancer.org, 2014).
Genetic testing on BRCA is something I would highly encourage to those who are capable of having the test done. In my opinion I believe the pros of having BRCA genetic testing done far outnumber the cons, whether someone’s family has a history of breast cancer or cancer in general or not. If you had a chance to stop something with the potential to take your life, before it even formed, why would you not? Especially if the subject’s family has a history of breast cancer, the worst that could happen would be if the test were to come back positive, than the person who was tested would have time to prepare and has a chance to lower their risk of actually getting the cancer through a multitude of ways. Best case scenario is to find out that they don’t have the mutated version of the gene, and that they are at the same risk as the general population to get breast cancer (breastcancer.org, 2013). The only real con that could come from this genetic testing would be that the person who was tested took the test when they didn’t need to. But for someone whose family has a history of cancer, that negative test result could ease the anxiety of a lifetime of thinking you’re at a higher risk.
I don’t believe that Angelina Jolie’s decision for a double mastectomy was too extreme at all, who are we to judge someone on something they did to ease their own mind? I think it’s easy to say that it was too extreme from a spectator’s point of view, but if someone offered you a way to lower your chances of getting cancer from 87% to around 5% with a single procedure would you do it (Kluger and Park, 2013)? Would you want your own mother, wife, or daughter to do it? Would you do it yourself if it meant you had a better chance at a longer life? If a female relative of mine was to find out she was at a higher risk I would have them decide with the doctor what the best form of treatment is for them, but I would suggest close observation and maybe even taking one of the risk lowering drugs like tamoxifen or raloxifene (ww5.komen.org, 2013). Due to the side effects of taking these drugs I would rather have my female relative just keep a close watch on it, along with frequent testing with her doctor....

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