Breast Cancer Essay

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There has been a long debate in history whether the environment we as people grow up in, or our actual biological conformations have been the major agent in causing disease. One such disease that has been questioned is breast cancer. Breast cancer is mainly due to sporadic mutations and forms of genomic instability. This is owing to the large number of mutations found in the transitions from normal cells to tumor cells. As more information is uncovered, there is the instance that environmental factors may play an even bigger role in the development of breast cancer than previously assumed as it influences the genetic make up of an individual.
Breast cancer is a form of cancer where the malignant tumor cells start in the tissues of the breast. Similar to all other forms of cancer, it starts in a single cell and is characterized by uncontrolled cell division and growth. These cancer cells are able to metastasize, or spread, to other areas of the body. There can be two types of breast cancer: ductal carcinoma or lobular carcinoma. Ductal carcinoma is the more common type of breast cancer and is when the tumor starts in the inner linings of the milk ducts. Lobular carcinoma is much less common and begins in the lobules, which are glands that make milk. Breast cancer can also be either invasive or non-invasive. In invasive breast cancer, the malignant cells travel to neighboring tissues from the ducts or lobules. From there, they are able to move to other areas of the body, such as the organs, through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Non-invasive breast cancer is when the cells are still where they originated. The world “in situ” meaning “in its original place” is used to describe the tumor cells having not moved from its origin. ...

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...table. A protein called Rap80 detects breaks in DNA strands which allows BRCA1 to become activated. Rap80 then binds to BRCA1, bringing it to the location of the break. There, BRCA1 is able to repair the DNA breaks. However, the mutated form of BRCA1 is unable to partake in any of the normal actions and as a result, mutations will build up within a cell until it becomes cancerous. (Cummings 277).
A harmful BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene can be inherited from the mother or the father. Individuals who are carriers of this mutation in either BRCA1 or BRCA2 have a “10-to-30-fold higher risk of breast cancer than the general population” (276) and “each child of a parent who carries a mutation in one of these genes has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the mutation” (National Institute of Health). Inheritance of this gene increases the offspring’s risk of developing breast cancer.

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