Breast Cancer

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Breast Cancer:
Risk Factors, Detection & Treatment

Among all American women who die when they are between the ages of forty and forty-five, the cause of death most likely to be listed on their death certificates is BREAST CANCER. Breast tumors are responsible for the greatest number of deaths among women, and breast cancer alone is the cause of almost one fifth of all cancer related mortalities. It results in the death of thirty seven thousand American women every year. Currently, there is no concrete answer as to how breast cancer is caused nor is their a cure for the disease. “Research over the past fifty years has narrowed the causes down to certain risk factors that are common amongst breast cancer patients. The disease can be detected somewhat early if one attends examinations. As for treatment, several methods have come into use, neither of them one hundred percent effective.” (Seltzer, 23)
“The risk factors for breast cancer have been evaluated solely by researching the medical histories of those with the disease.” (Seltzer, 27) They have been assigned a specific order which ranges from greatest risk to the least amount of risk. The risk factors are having a family history of the disease, never bearing children, having a child after the age of thirty, having had a late menopause, age, obesity, and being a Caucasian. These risk factors are not however, totally conclusive. My mother, also being a victim of breast cancer had none of the above listed risk factors, but still developed the sickness. “Even if none of the risk factors applies to you, you must still be wary and attend regular examinations, because every woman is at risk.” (Subak-Sharpe, 42)
Early detection of breast cancer is the key to surviving the illness. Once the tumor has grown too much, it is often too late. “Large tumors interact with lymph nodes which interconnect with the breast, facilitating the spreading of the disease, which in almost all cases, leads to certain death.” (Link, 144) There are essentially two methods of detection with breast cancer. They are self examinations as well as Mammography’s. Self examinations are essentially done by women on themselves, feeling the breast while searching for a lump or abnormalities. It is recommended by the American Cancer Association that a ...

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.... “Even though some patients illnesses prove resistant, the treatment is forty percent effective.”(Link, 110) Side effects with Radiation therapy are rare but include rib fracture, radiation induced Pneumonia, and Pericardial effusion(fluid around the heart). These side effects are due to the radiations proximity with the lungs, ribs and heart. The alternative to Radiation therapy is Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy involves using drugs in the fight against malignant, or deadly tumors. Pharmaceuticals such as Antimetabolites, Alkalating agents, and Antibiotics. These drugs are basically designed to flow through the body’s circulatory system, and then search for and destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy has about the same success rate as radiation therapy.
In conclusion, breast cancer is one of the most deadly cancers known to women around the world. Risk factors show who may be prone to developing the sickness, and as time goes by, more detection and treatment methods are developed. Hopefully one day, a cure can be found to eradicate this, and all cancers, but until that day, women will still have to deal with the detection, and treatment of breast cancer.
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