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Breast cancer

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Metastasizing breast cancer cell as seen through a scanning electron microscope.

Breast cancer is a cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare. About 12.7 % of women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer in some time in their life. Age, Sex, Diet, Hormones, and Genetics are all factors that affect the onset of breast cancer. Woman at the age of 60 are more likely to have breast cancer than women of the age 20 and younger.

Contributing factors

Genetics

Some people are genetically predisposed to having breast cancer. In other words, they are more likely to have breast cancer than others due to their genetics. Inherited forms of breast cancer have been attributed to two different genes: BRCA1 (Breast cancer gene one) and BRCA2 (breast cancer gene two). The job of these genes is to prevent any cancer cells from growing and keep the breast growing at a steady normal rate. If these genes are disrupted by mutation, cancer cells can spread in the breast and to the body. Without these genes, cells are able to grow/divide at an unusual rate which eventually forms a tumor.[1]

Benign Breast Disease

A common (non-cancerous) change in the breast(s). This disease can cause cancer eventually, but is not a cancer. Many women from the ages 20-50 are likely to get this during their menstrual cycle. Some symptoms of this disease consists of abnormal lumps/cysts in the breast, as well as, irritation or pain of the breast(s), sensitive nipples, and itching.[2] Some different categories of Benign Breast Disease are, Non-proliferate fibrocystic changes, Proliferate fibrocystic changes without atypical, Proliferate fibrocystic changes with atypia.[3]Fibrocystic changes: Fibrosis tissue has similar characteristics of scar tissue. Cysts are oval shaped sacs that have a fluid inside them. If this fluid continues to grow and build up they are known as large cysts. Cysts can be painful because they stretch the breast tissue. Some doctors may have to take a needle biopsy or a surgical biopsy to find out if the object is a cancer or cyst. epithelial hyperplasia This an overgrowth that lines either the ducts or the lobules. Based on the arrangement of the cells the hyperplasia can be grouped as mild, hyperplasia-without the atypical, atypical hyperplasia-with the atypical. A woman with usual hyperplasia has a greater probability to contract breast cancer. Edinosis-This is when the lobules are enlarged and sometimes touch one another, if they do touch this makes it simpler for the examiner to feel it or find it in general. This too is not cancerous, but can be a precursor. [4] There are many different types of Benign Breast Disease, which are simply stages in the development of a breast(s), not necessarily a disease.

Age and Sex

Age is a major factor in breast cancer. Women from the ages 30 and younger are less likely to suffer breast cancer then women ages 50-75 years and up. Also, it is more likely for women than men to get breast cancer. [5] Women who are post menopausal are less likely to get breast cancer then those who are pre-menopausal.

The entire body is affected when living with breast cancer. [6] While there are many types of breast cancer, this article will discuss one common specific type. About 5-10% of breast cancer is due to inherited genetic makeup. [7] The most common type of breast cancer is 'INVASIVE INFILTRATING DUCTAL CARCINOMA (ID)'. 80% of breast cancer patients have ID. This kind of cancer begins in the surrounding fatty tissue of the breast and can spread through the body via vascular invasion of blood vessels or the lymphatic system.[8]

Prevention

Healthy diet

A healthy diet is essential to preventing breast cancer. Some healthy foods help prevent any diseases that can result in breast cancer are: soy products versus high fatty proteins, decaffeinated drinks instead of coffee. Tea can lower the risk of cancer since it has antioxidants. Processed meats and Grilled meats can contain cancer-causing chemicals; it is important to keep this food intake at a moderate rate. A healthy diet is essential in preventing any type of cancer as well as breast cancer. Taking vitamin E and C are good ways to balance a healthy diet because they have antioxidants in them. Its important to keep your body healthy to secure yourself from getting any type of disease that can cause cancers as well as breast cancer. cancer

Treatments

Surgery

When diagnosed with breast cancer, depending on the size/ shape/ area/ of the tumor (cancer) in the breast, you might need to go through a surgery procedure to remove the breast cancer. Keep in mind that there are many different techniques to recovering from or preventing breast cancer. Surgery for breast cancer can be: removing part of the breast and the normal tissue around it and possibly some lymph nodes under the arm (which allows the cancer to expand through to the body). This surgery is called LUMPECTOMY. There only leaves one more type of breast cancer surgery which is A SEGMENTAL MASTECTOMY surgery- which is when the surgeon or doctor remove a large part of the normal breast tissue (meaning not the breast tissue that is affected) but also, the lining over the chest muscles. As well as above the tumor and some of the lymph nodes ((so that the cancer cannot expand through to the body)). There are also different types of MASTECTOMY SURGERY such as *Non-Conserving Procedure Mastectomy, *Modified Radical Mastectomy, and *Radical Mastectomy. [9] The non conserving procedure goes through a conduct of taking away (the nipple, overlaying skin on the breast, various lymph nodes, and areola); really deforming the breast entirely and taking it all away. This can deform the breast greatly. The modified radical mastectomy surgery goes consists of the surgeon taking away the nipple, overlaying skin, some lymph nodes, and areola, and sometimes lining of the chest muscles. This kind of surgery is a little more complex than the last type of mastectomy but is a smaller portion of the breast, to take away. But it takes from the lining of the chest muscle, which does add up to amount of removal of the breast, which is essentially more! The last type of mastectomy is radical. This surgery involves removing of the nipple, underlying skin, lymph nodes, areola, chest muscles. As you can see the farther we go in to the different types of mastectomy surgery for breast cancer, the more complex it is for the surgeon or doctor.[10]

Radiation

Main Article: Radiation therapy
External beam radiation therapy comes from a machine that aims radiation at your cancer. The machine is large and may be noisy. It does not touch you, but rotates around you, sending radiation to your body from many directions.External beam radiation therapy is a local treatment, meaning that the radiation is aimed only at a specific part of your body. For example, if you have lung cancer, you will get radiation to your chest only and not the rest of your body.

Radiation therapy is another type of treatment for caring for breast cancer. Another known name for this type of treatment is called 'Breast Brachytherapy'. The body can recover from breast cancer through a course of 5 to 7 weeks during radiation. Usually the patient comes in once or twice daily throughout this period of time to treat their breast cancer. [11] This directly beams high energy rays on to the tumor through the outside of the breast to the inside of the breast directly. This treatment shrinks the tumor in the breast, also, killing the breast cancer cells that can be found in the breast, chest walls, and underarm. So that the surgery is not so severe and emotionally does not affect the patients size or shape of their breast, as much as it could have initially. This usually comes before surgery and having to go further in recovering and the severity of the patient, but can sometimes also be done after surgery of breast cancer. The 4 types of radiation are External Beam, Internal Beam, Intra-Operative Beam, and Dose Verification System. The most used radiation is the External Beam Radiation, which most women go through when suffering from Breast cancer. This type of radiation is quite similar to getting a diagnostic x-ray done on a patients body. This procedure is painless when being done, but like any treatment can have some side effects depending on the patient and their different types of body. [12]

Chemotherapy

This type of treatment is sometimes known as a "systemic form" of breast cancer treatment; simply because it can be taken orally or given directly through a vein of the patient. This is a drug that directly goes to through to the blood stream, throughout the entire body killing off cancer cells, from growing or expanding. Many types of drugs (not just one) is given during chemo. This type of therapy can last up to a whole year. Which through out this period of time slowly give the body time to recover.[13] In this type of treatment the medication being taken by the patient is known for killing dividing cells, which does not only mean cancer cells. It can sometimes mean other cells that function in your body and are growing too! The liver and kidneys however, do not grow so rapidly so; these organs are not as affected either. Chemotherapy is a reassurance to some patients of being breast cancer-free. There are many different body types and different ways a body will react to a disease such as breast cancer so it is important to find the right treatment for the right patient.

Hormonal

Estrogen sends estrogen to the estrogen receptors. Estrogen and/or progesterone are present then this means that you might have to go through hormonal therapy. Depending on the hormones that is how the breast cancer is depended on life. If the estrogen/progesterone eventually dies then the cancer cells have nothing to thrive off of. [14]Cells with estrogen receptors grow as well as increase the cells and receptors. This means it is what helps the breast cells grow and multiply. If the levels of the estrogen and progesterone grow to rapid the idea behind Hormonal Therapy is to starve the cancer cells. So that they slow down in their speed of rapid growth. Hormonal levels can change, from on and off they are controlled by the receptors which turn on and off. This is how cell activity revolves around the cells in the body. When a patient is undergoing Hormonal therapy they are run through the bloodstream. And when there are progesterone receptors this type of treatment can be very effective. [15] The two main common types of Hormonal disease found in woman with breast cancer is Tamoxifen as well as Aromatase inhibitors or tamoxifen (found in postmenopausal women.) Many woman with hormonal triggers leading to breast cancer are hormone receptor positive (HR+) disease. When the patient is going through this treatment they simply take a tablet daily by mouth. Some pills prescribed for this are: Nolvadex (generic, tamoxifen), and the aromatase inhibitors such as Arimidex (generic, anastrozole), Femara (letrozole), and Aromasin (exemestane). [16]

These bottles and pills are of the drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene that are being used in a breast cancer prevention

The Bible & Breast Cancer

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." - In this bible verse, it gives woman diagnosed with breast cancer (or in any situation), the faith and courage to stay firm in their faith to God and to move forward. No matter what they are going through they are facing these things to make them stronger, and not weaker. Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NIV)

"Then Samuel said, "Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites." Agag came to him confidently, [a] thinking, "Surely the bitterness of death is past." " In this passage of the bible God shows through Samuel and Agag how to be faithful and persistent; when facing death. God has a calling for each of us, but, we need to have faith in order to have faith we must have courage to face our fears knowing that God is ahead of us, every single step of the way. Woman with breast cancer may fear death but God has so much more for them, perhaps to value life even more, to affect others around them as well. With faith and courage when living through/with breast cancer you can always remind yourself; through God that, 'Surely the bitterness of death will pass'. 1Samuel 15:32 (NIV)

"Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone." In this passage of the bible, it relates to depending on God. Whether you are facing Breast Cancer or a deadly disease or whatever situation you are in, be patient and kind hearted. Being angry at God, will not heal you-so depend on him for hope, courage, and strength!Proverbs 25:15 (NIV)

References