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Breast Cancer

By | November 2011
Page 1 of 6
According to the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO, 2002), breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women in the United States, falling only behind skin cancers. This is why it is such an important disease to understand. Throughout this paper there will be information about various issues which deal with breast cancer, in an attempt to give better insight to the disease. First there will be a brief discussion on the normal and altered physiology of the breast followed by the etiology and possible causative factors. Next there will be signs and symptoms which result from these alterations. Finally, the research paper will be ended with some complications and the prognosis of this disease.

Although breast cancer occurs in both men and women the prevalence is low in men. Out of every 100 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer only one man is which is why this paper will concentrate on the disease process in women. (ACS) (American Cancer Society [ACS], 2002)

Please refer to the illustration above for help in understanding the structure of a normal breast. The female breast is primarily made up of lobules, ducts, and stroma. Lobules are milk producing glands, ducts are the milk passages that connect the lobules to the nipple and stroma is fatty and connective tissue that surrounds the ducts, lobules, blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. Lymphatic vessels carry lymph, a clear fluid containing waste products and immune cells. There are also lymph nodes along the lymphatic vessels; these nodes are bean-shaped collections of immune cells. Most lymphatic vessels of the breast connect to axillary lymph nodes which can be found in the armpit. Other nodes, such as internal mammary nodes and supra/infraclavicular nodes can also be found inside the chest or above and below the collarbone. (ACS, 2002)

According to NABCO cancer is a group of more than 100 different diseases and occurs when cells become abnormal and are without...

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