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Breast Cancer: Causes, Effects and Symptoms

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Biology
Wordcount: 1551 words Published: 16th May 2018

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Breast cancer is the growth of tissues in the breast. It starts off as a “single abnormal cell that grows into a benign tumor.” (Mader123). Breast cancer begins in the milk ducts, where extra lining of cells are formed and fill the ducts. Breast cancer usually is formed on the ductal carcinoma or ductal cancer, and lobular carcinoma or lobular cancer, which allows for there to be two different names of breast cancer. Ductal carcinoma is when the cancer begins in the cells of the milk ducts in the breast. Lobular carcinoma is when the cancer begins in the lobules, which are the glands that make the milk). It is very common in females, although males can still get it. Women can find the cancer in the form of a lump on their breast, or by a mammogram. Another form is inflammatory breast cancer that is very uncommon. Inflammatory breast cancer is when the breast are red, swollen, and warm. The symptoms of breast cancer come a different forms; swelling of the breast, skin change, breast or nipple pain, or a discharge from the nipple. Ductal cancer can be found by having a hard, firm lump which is caused by scar tissue that forms around the cells. “Lobular cancer sends individual cells in little fingerlike projections out into the tissues without inciting a lot of desmoplastic reaction around them, and you can feel it as a little thickening rather than as a hard lump.” (Love262). Lobular cancer is more common to react with hormones. Now with the latest technology researchers have been able to determine that if a family has history with breast cancer, that the offspring can be carrying a breast cancer (BRCA) 1 or BRCA 2 gene. Having the ability to test a patient for breast cancer genes will help lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

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Breast cancer can be classified by either BRCA 1 or BRCA 2, which is breast cancer mutation of the genes. Genetic cancer is when one dominate gene is passed onto generations that results in the BRCa 1 or BRCA 2 gene. Genes help with DNA repair, but when the gene is mutated it cannot repair the damaged gene. Mutated genes can be passed down from either the mother or the father to the offspring which results in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene. BRCA 1 gene can be found on the 27th chromosome, and is known as a tumor suppressor gene that provides the blueprint for protein that breaks cellular growth. BRCA 1 is shown to occur in families that had a lot of breast or ovarian cancer. Families who carry the BRCA 1 gene are also linked with ovarian cancer, which puts them at risk for both breast and ovarian cancer. They have a higher risk of getting breast cancer at a young age, or in both breasts. The BRCA 2 gene is found on the 13th chromosome. BRCA 2 is found to affect males at a higher risk, although male breast cancer is rare. BRCA 2 is not as common as BRCA 1, which allows for families who carry this gene to be at a lower risk. Breast cancer is common in families with high male and female breast cancer. Families who are of Jewish decent are more likely to get breast cancer because they have a high mutation rate.Hahdd

Men or women who are considered to be at high risk of breast cancer have the option of being tested. A person is considered to be at high risk if they have two or more family members that have had breast or ovarian cancer. The breast cancer gene test is a blood test that uses DNA to see if there is a mutation in the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene. A positive result of the blood test is that the patient is positive in the inheritance of the mutated gene. It is not definite that the patient will have the cancer; the cancer still requires uncertain environmental factors in order for the cancer to develop. A patient with positive results is now at risk for passing the mutated gene to their children. If a person receives a negative result of having the breast cancer gene, it does not mean that they are cancer free. It means that they do not have the gene, “90 to 95 percent of breast cancer is not a result of BRCA 1 or BRCA 2, and 5 to 10 percent of women have the heredity factor of breast cancer.” (Schnipper221). “The child of a parent who has a positive gene has a 50 percent risk of inheriting the mutation.” (Schnipper223).

Testing for a genetic inheritance of the gene can be very helpful for families to know if they are carrying the mutated gene, and it can also be upsetting to the families who are affected. If a family member comes back positive for the gene that puts other members of the family at risk. They family then has to decide what they want to do with the information they received. The gene is genetic which then puts the children at risk for cancer. Breast cancer heredity is very rare and it does not occur in every family. Age and( _____like jewish) play a huge role in determining if you have the gene. “If a Jewish woman younger than 40 has breast cancer, there is about a 33% chance that they will be a carrier of the gene. While those who are not Jewish and have breast cancer before 30 have a 12% chance of having a mutation.” (Love108).

A patient who receives a negative result is negative for the mutation, which means that the patient did not inherit the gene. A positive result of the breast cancer gene has a few options on how to lower their risk of getting breast cancer. A patient can choose to be monitored closer for breast cancer symptoms by having frequent breast and pelvic exams, mammograms, MRI’s, ultrasounds, blood tests, and self breast exams. A more aggressive step could be having prophylactic surgery. Prophylactic surgery is when a woman has their breasts removed to reduce their risk of getting cancer.

Not every woman who inherits the breast cancer gene will get cancer. BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutations are not the only reason that a woman will get cancer. There are other factors that can lead to a woman to get cancer. Gender is a factor that leads to breast cancer. Women are at risk for breast cancer just for being a female. Women have more breast cells than men because their breast cells are growing due to female hormones. Age is another risk because as a person gets older their risk increases. Race and ethnicity would be another risk factor; white women are more at risk for breast cancer than African American women. Only “about 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, resulting directly from gene defects inherited from a parent.” (cancer.org). Men who carry the breast cancer gene and do not have breast cancer can still pass the gene to their children because they carry the mutated gene.

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Instead of just one treatment of breast cancer, with new technologies there are many options to choose from. The treatments help to get rid of the cancer and keep it under control. There are a lot of different cancer cells which depending on what type of breast cancer a person has, it may require different treatments. When a person mentions that they have cancer the first thing that comes to mind is that they will need chemotherapy. Although a person may need chemotherapy typically the first step is surgery. There are different stages of surgery which are based on the cancer. Mastectomy and lumpectomy are two of the surgeries a patient can undergo. Mastectomy is removal of the entire breast, which for some people is very difficult to do. While lumpectomy keeps that breast and removes the affected tissue. Chemotherapy helps to remove and destroy cancer cells throughout the body by going through the bloodstream. Chemotherapy is mainly used after a person undergoes the surgery to help prevent the cancer cells from growing and moving to other parts of the body. Radiation is another type of treatment that is used to destroy and shrink cancer cells that made it through surgery. “Radiation can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence by about 70%.” (breastcancer.org). Radiation destroys the cell’s DNA to prevent it from dividing.

Tamoxifen treats breast cancer that has spread to other areas by blocking estrogen in the growth of the cell. It is used after surgery, radiation therapy, and those who are at high risk. It works by blocking estrogen in the breast tissue. Breast Cancer 4 is known to show if the breast cancer tumor will work with the tamoxifen therapy. After a recent study, “The research looked into why this might happen by examining whether the BCAR4 gene is involved in tamoxifen resistance. Using samples from 280 breast cancer patients, the researchers found that tamoxifen had a weak or limited effect on tumors with a highly active BCAR4 gene.” (webmd). The other side of Tamoxifen is that it can be used to prevent breast cancer in a woman who has had ductal carcinoma. Tamoxifen is mainly used on women who are considered to be at high risk of developing breast cancer. It is known to help decrease the risk of getting invasive cancer, although it will not work on everyone. Studies have shown that taking tamoxifen have helped in prevention of the cancer, while others it showed no help. Like many drugs there are risks of taking tamoxifen. Tamoxifen should not be given to women who are not at high risk of getting breast cancer.


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