Mini Research Paper on Breast Cancer

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I. The Problem and Its Setting


Breast cancer (malignant breast neoplasm) is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas.

Prognosis and survival rate varies greatly depending on cancer type and staging. Computerized models are available to predict survival. With best treatment and dependent on staging, 10-year disease-free survival varies from 98% to 10%. Treatment includes surgery, drugs (hormonal therapy and chemotherapy), and radiation.

Worldwide, breast cancer comprises 10.4% of all cancer incidence among women, making it the most common type of non-skin cancer in women and the fifth most common cause of cancer death. In 2004, breast cancer caused 519,000 deaths worldwide (7% of cancer deaths; almost 1% of all deaths). Breast cancer is about 100 times more common in women than in men, although males tend to have poorer outcomes due to delays in diagnosis.

Some breast cancers are sensitive to hormones such as estrogen and/or progesterone, which makes it possible to treat them by blocking the effects of these hormones in the target tissues. Estrogen and progesterone receptor positive tumors have better prognosis and require less aggressive treatment than hormone negative cancers.

Breast cancers without hormone receptors, or which have spread to the lymph nodes in the armpits, or which express certain genetic characteristics, are higher-risk, and are treated more aggressively. One standard regimen, popular in the U.S., is cyclophosphamide plus doxorubicin (Adriamycin), known as CA; these drugs damage DNA in the cancer, but also in fast-growing normal cells where they cause serious side effects. Sometimes a taxane drug, such as docetaxel, is added, and the regime is then known as CAT; taxane attacks the microtubules in cancer cells. An equivalent treatment, popular in Europe, is cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil (CMF). Monoclonal antibodies, such as trastuzumab (Herceptin), are used for cancer cells that have HER2/neu overexpressed. Radiation is usually added to the surgical bed to control cancer cells that were missed by the surgery, which usually extends survival, although radiation exposure to the heart may cause damage and heart failure in the following years.

Objectives of the Study

At the end of this research, I, as the researcher would like to found out some queries in mind about breast cancer such as:

1. What is the cause of breast cancer?
2. Who are the most affect on this illness?
3. For those who don’t have the said illness, how can they prevent it? 4. For those who already have it, what medications or how will they cure their illness?

Theoretical Framework

Because of its visibility, breast cancer was the form of cancer most often described in ancient documents. Because autopsies were rare, cancers of the internal organs were essentially invisible to ancient medicine. Breast cancer, however, could be felt through the skin, and in its advanced state often developed into fungating lesions: the tumor would become necrotic (die from the inside, causing the tumor to appear to break up) and ulcerate through the skin, weeping fetid, dark fluid.

The oldest description of cancer was discovered in Egypt and dates back to approximately 1600 BC. The Edwin Smith Papyrus describes 8 cases of tumors or ulcers of the breast that were treated by cauterization. The writing says about the disease, "There is no treatment." For centuries, physicians described similar cases in their practises, with the same conclusion. Ancient medicine, from the time of the Greeks through the 17th century, was based on humoralism, and thus believed that breast cancer was generally caused by imbalances in the fundamental fluids that controlled the body,...
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