We have been taught and are reminded frequently by public service announcements and by the medical community that when a woman discovers a lump on her breast she should go to the doctor immediately. Some women who have inflammatory breast cancer may remain undiagnosed for long periods, even while seeing their doctor to learn the cause of her symptoms.
“Our mission is to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and genetic research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health.” This is a mission statement made from Evelyn H. Lauder. She is the founder of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Breast Cancer takes a woman’s life every 13 minutes. This is a number that is outrageous. This is something that terrifies me to no end. When breast cancer runs in your family, you think about cancer a lot. It is the leading cause of death for women between the ages of forty and fifty five and this year more than 200,000 new cases are expected in the U.S. Women are not the only ones susceptible to the disease. It is estimated in 2004, 1,600 men will die of breast cancer. With so many people affected by this disease, how is it that so many are unaware of the consequences of ignorance? No one is completely immune to the disease and it is important that everyone, male and female, educate themselves on the topic. Common myths need to be clarified; risk factors need to be addressed, early signs need to be recognized, and treatment options need to be discussed. Education is the first step toward beating this disease.
I chose this topic because I am a young woman and I am at risk for breast cancer. My grandmother was diagnosed several years ago, and had a mastectomy. I think it is very important for all women to be knowledgeable about breast cancer because one in every eight women will get the disease in their lifetime. If this was put up on a website, many people would have access to the information and could educate themselves on the disease. That is the first step toward beating it. More women in the United States are living with breast cancer than any other cancer, excluding skin cancer. Statistics show that approximately three million women are living with the disease: two million who have been diagnosed, and one million who do not yet know they have it. A woman in the United States has a one in eight chance of developing invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer is described as invasive when the cancer has spread to nearby tissue, lymph nodes, under the arm, or other parts of the body. Non-invasive cancer is known as ‘in situ breast cancer’.
Breast cancer is only one of 200 different types of cancer. It is considered a woman’s disease but both men and women have the disease. Every year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Twelve percent of all women will get the disease and 3.5% of them will die. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women who are 40 to 55 years old. Cancer occurs when cells divide uncontrollably. Cells keep dividing even though new cells are not needed. Change from normal to cancerous cells requires gene alterations. Altered genes and uncontrolled growth may lead to tumors. These tumors can be benign (NOT cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors won’t spread but it can damage tissues around it. Malignant tumors invade, damage, and destroy nearby tissues and can spread. Cancer can spread throughout the body when cancer cells break away from malignant tumors and enter the bloodstream. Cancer cells from breast cancer are mostly found in the lymph nodes under the arm when it “spreads.“ When cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it has the same name as the original cancer. So, if you breast cancer ends up in your lungs, it is still called breast cancer!
Breast cancer usually occurs in women...