Close To The Heart Essay

2985 words - 12 pages

In today’s society, one of the main diseases affecting women is breast cancer. Cancer is defined as disease in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues (“What is Cancer?”). Breast cancer is most often caused by either a woman’s genetics or through the influence of lifestyle choices. Breast cancer remains one of the major concerns in the medical field, mainly because it has many forms and happens to strike a large number of women. However, over the last few decades, diagnosing and treating breast cancer has rapidly evolved and improved. As of 2013, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States (“What Are the Key…”).
Breast cancer can be caused by a variety of factors. Up until recently, many doctors believed breast cancer was strictly related to heredities. Research has shown that a woman whose mother, sister, or daughter has had breast cancer is two to three times more likely to develop the disease (“Breast Cancer Causes…”). Inherited genes mutations can be passed from parents to children, but they don’t make cancer inevitable. The majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history (Mayo Clinic Staff). Researchers have found a link between breast cancer and a woman’s amount of exposure to estrogen and progesterone over her lifetime. Women who began their period before age 12 or started menopause at an older age are more likely to develop breast cancer (Mayo Clinic Staff). Women who have never had children or had children after age thirty-five are also at greater risk (Mayo Clinic Staff). Any of these situations will alter the hormone levels of a woman’s body. In relation to this risk factor, doctors believe that growing older is one factor that has to be considered because older age has been identified as having a high relation with breast cancer (“Breast Cancer Causes…”). Two thirds of women who have had or have breast cancer are over the age of fifty, with the majority of the final third over the age of thirty-nine (“Breast Cancer Causes…”).
Detecting breast cancer is both easy and difficult. It can be easy because any previously unnoticed lump on the breast could be an indication of a breast cancer, even though it might not be so. However, an evident change in the breast tissue is usually considered a reflection of cancer growth ("How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?"). This method is only effective if women know how their breasts usually appear and feel. If women do not self-check regularly, they would have more difficulty detecting differences in tissues. All in all, the best way to detect breast cancer is to go through mammography, a process that many women should go through several times during their lives. A mammogram screens for cancer and helps to identify the location lumps. Further tests will be done on patients who have lumps to better evaluate ("How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?"). An ultrasound may be done to show whether the lump is a...

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