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Breast Cancer

Breast consists of connective tissue, fat, ducts and lobules or tiny glands that produce milk. Millions of cells combine to form body organs. Cancer occurs when the body cells grow out of control. The body produces new cells only for growth and healing of injuries. The production of cells is higher in young people than in adults as they keep growing. Under normal circumstances, the body produces new cells to replace the dying ones to ensure that the body remains healthy. Dying cells sometimes reproduce rapidly instead of dying, producing more abnormal and rapidly increasing cells. The cancer cells grow into tumors and lumps that replace normal body tissues. The abnormal tissues affect normal operation of the body, including blood circulation, digestion, nervous system and hormones production. Breast cancer is a form of abnormal cell regeneration that occurs in the breast tissues.

Breast cancer develops in several forms, including ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma. High number of women is diagnosed with ductal carcinoma, a form of cancer that affects the milk duct. Lobular carcinoma develops in the milk glands or lobules. Invasive breast cancer refers to a condition when the cancerous cells spread from the breast to other body parts. Noninvasive breast cancer refers to a condition when the cancer cells stay within the breast. According to American Cancer Society (2014), ductal cancer accounts for eight out of ten invasive cancer cases, while lobular cancer accounts for only one case.

Breast cancer contributes significantly to the total number of recorded cancer-related deaths. Breast cancer accounts for 17% of reported cancers cases in women. Breast cancer also accounts for 18% of the deaths in the world for both males and females. According to the United States Cancer Statistics, there are more than 232,000 female breast cancer cases and about 2200 male cases. The National Cancer Institute also records more than 39,000 deaths annually caused by breast cancer. According to researches, out of 100,000 women in the United States, 125 are diagnosed with cancer, and 22 out of them fail to recover. In 2011, around 2,900,000 million women lived with cancer in the United States (National Cancer Institute, n.d.).

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The body may respond in several ways to breast cancer development and treatment. Tumors produce hormones that affect the normal body operation, such as digestion and breathing. Patients usually experience extreme pain at advanced stages and even organ failure. Patients also experience hair loss due to chemotherapy. The drugs also lead to loss of weight and poor sexual performance. Patients experience extreme fatigue and lack of energy during treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation exposure (National Cancer Institute, n.d.).

Cancerous cells build tumors and lumps in the body. Thickened tissue or a lump in a woman’s breast marks the first symptoms of breast cancer. However, not all lumps are cancerous; thus, a woman must seek medical help to distinguish cancerous lumps from non-cancerous ones. Symptoms of breast cancer include abnormal tissue growth or a lump in the breast and red breast skin that resembles an orange skin. Swelling or growth of a lamp around the breast and a rash on the nipples also indicate growth of cancerous cells. Growth of a thick tissue layer around the breast should also arouse alarm. Women should also seek professional help in case of bloody discharge from one of the nipples or change in its appearances, such as sinking or inversion, change in the size of the breast and peeling of the skin. Breast cancer development is marked by two main symptoms that are a lump and the swollen glands on the armpits (Nordqvist, 2014).

Due to the high prevalence and death rates, medical researches found several factors that lead to development of breast cancer. The risk of development of breast cancer increases as women grow older. Women with menopause and at the age of fifty years and above have a higher probability of developing breast cancer compared to younger women. Eight out of ten reported cases of breast cancer occur in women above the age of fifty. Women between fifty and seventy years old should have three cancer screening session every year (American Cancer Society, 2014).

Genetics is proven to be involved in breast cancer. Genetic disorders and genetic inheritance are the leading causes of cancer in women. Women have a 10% probability of developing breast cancer through genetic inheritance; however, genetics does not account for the majority of breast cancer cases. Humans inherit the genetic identity that determines skin color and other factors such as body size and physical appearance from their parents. Genes consist of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which controls the structure and functionality of cells. Inheritance of faulty genes leads to abnormal functionality of breast cells, which, in its turn, leads to development of breast cancer (National Cancer Institute, n.d.).

History of breast cancer or development of abnormal tissues also increases the risk of developing the disease. A woman’s breast consists of thousands of lobules that produce milk. Women with larger breasts have a dense concentration of lobules, and therefore, more cells, which increases the probability of breast cancer. High amount of estrogen, a female hormone that is in charge of physical and sexual features in women, also increases the possibility of breast cancer development. Women in which menstrual cycles begin at a young age and those with prolonged menstruation have higher chances of breast cancer development. Breast cancer also may develop due to obesity, alcohol abuse, exposure to radiation and hormone replacement therapy. Other possible causes are the use of contraceptives, breast implants and bras, and abortions. Race also increases the risk of getting breast cancer. White women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women of African descent. However, African Americans have a higher probability of dying from breast cancer (Nordqvist, 2014).

Positive breast cancer diagnoses take place after thorough screening by medical professionals. The testing methods include breast examination, mammograms, biopsy, breast ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. The diagnoses also indicate the extent of development of breast cancer before a doctor decides on a suitable treatment. There are five main methods of breast cancer treatment. They are chemotherapy, hormone therapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Radiation therapy exposes patients to radioactive rays that target the cancerous cells. Radiation therapy also harms good cells in the body and makes the body weak. Chemotherapy involves taking drugs that target the cancerous cells, preventing them from reproducing. Chemotherapy is not effective in treating cancer. Thus, doctors apply surgery when cancerous cells resist therapy. Breast cancer surgery is of two types: lumpectomy and mastectomy. In lumpectomy surgery, the infected part is removed only, while in mastectomy, the entire breast is removed (Nordqvist, 2014).

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In conclusion, main symptoms of breast cancer include tumors, lumps and abnormal growth of thick tissue layers. Invasive breast cancer is fatal as it negatively influences the normal function of other parts of the body as it spreads. Breast cancer rates are much higher in women compared to men. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age; other causes include bad genes, race and breast density. Breast cancer partly develops due to ignorance and can be contained through routine screening and healthy lifestyle. The treatment of breast cancer includes various therapies and surgery. Such breast cancer treatments as radiation and chemotherapy have a negative effect on the body. Surgery is the most effective form of breast cancer as it removes the infected parts. Surgery prevents regeneration of cancerous cells and future development of breast cancer.