Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women; just after skin cancer. Since both my mother and grandmother survived breast cancer, it seems important for me to better understand the disease and learn how to reduce my own risks. I hope to be able to make smart decisions in order to reduce my risks of breast cancer, but also to be able to inform the otherwomen in my family of way to reduce or detect breast cancer early. Although breast cancer can affect men as well as women, I will be focusing my research on women’s breast cancer. To understand such a complex disease, we need to know and understand what breast cancer is, but also be able to recognize the risk factors in order to seek appropriate screening and prevention, or understand the diagnosisand treatment options if the case may be.
Breast cancer refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. Breast cells grow in an uncontrollable way and form a tumor. Usually breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands, or in the ducts, the passages that drain the milk from the lobules to the nipple. CITE
According tothe National Breast Cancer Foundation, there are seven different types of breast cancers. The most common is Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), followed by Medullary Carcinoma. There is also the Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS), which is a non invasive cancer confined in the ductal system.
The Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma accounts for 78% of breast cancers, and this is the one that runs in myfamily. One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States, but after a 20 year increase in incidence rates in women, we are seeing a decrease since 1996 of about 2% . (breast cancer.org)
It is important to understand what breast cancer is in order to treat or prevent it. Like any other tumor, breast cancer tumor form from the result of uncontrollable cells growth. Ductalbreast cancer means that the cancer starts in the ducts of the breasts, and accounts for about 86% of breast cancers. CITE
All breast cancer progress differently. Some breast cancers are considered in situs, which means that they are located in one area and remains there, which is non invasive, but invasive cancers spread throughout the body through the lymph channels or blood vessels. Mostcommonly when the cancer spreads it reaches the lymph nodes under the arm. A spreading cancer is called metastatic. If the cancers reach other organs such as the liver or the brain it is still breast cancer, but metastatic breast cancer.
Furthermore, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, they are five stages of breast cancer; each associated with different 5 years survival rates.Stage 0, or carcinoma in situ has 100% survival rate, because it has not spread into the surrounding tissue, and can be removed easily. The second stage is stage I, an early invasive cancer. It is usually smaller than an inch and contained within the breast, and has a 98% survival rate. The third stage is stage II, where the tumor remains between one and two inches but has spread to three underarmslymph nodes, or it is larger than two inches but contained within the breast, which has an 88% survival rate. The fourth stage is stage III, where the tumor is larger than an inch and has spread to nine auxiliary underarm lymph nodes, or has spread to surrounding tissues such as the skin or chest walls. Stage III has between 49 and 56 % survival rate. The last stage is stage IV, where the cancerhas spread to other organs such as the liver, the lungs or the brain, and by then the survival rate drop down to 16%. DATE
In addition, the risks factors for breast cancer are varied and many of the causes are still undetermined. One of the major risk factor is the age. As we grow older, our chances of developing breast cancer increase. We are more at risk after the age of fifty, especially for...