Breast cancer is a disease in which the breast cells grow uncontrollably. It is more common in women, breast cancer may happen to men also. This cancer is broken down into two categories invasive and noninvasive (in situ).
The difference is the invasive breast cancer is when the cancerous cells break through the normal breast tissue barriers and in the body. The cancerous cells spread through the lymph nodes and bloodstream. While the invasive spreads in the body noninvasive breast cancer does not.
Noninvasive breast cancer is when the cancerous cells stay in one particular location in the breast without going and spreading to other tissues, lobules or ducts. According to the textbook, “Breast cancer usually arises from the epithelial cells of the smallest ducts, eventually becoming a lump in the breast from which cells often metastasize.” (Ch 27, pg 1068) The second most common cancer in the United States is breast cancer. One in eight women in their life span will develop breast cancer. It is most commonly diagnosed cancer for women. Statistics of breast cancer in the Asia region, is “estimated 1.
7 million new cancer cases diagnosed in 2012 (23% of all cancers), and ranks second overall (11.9% of all cancers), while mortality has increased by 14%.” (Donepudi, M., Kondapalli, K., Amos, S., Venkanteshan, P.) From all the different types of cancer, breast cancer ranks the fifth cause of death. One in every thousand men and about one in every eight women in their lifespan would develop invasive breast cancer.
Following menopause, women are more prone to this disease. Texas Department of State Health Services did a Female Breast Cancer Fact Sheet in April 2018. Breast cancer rate for women in Texas was 112 new cases per 100,000 women. There data showed roughly about 20 people die from breast cancer per every 100,000 women in Texas.
The deaths due to breast cancer were more common among African American women than Hispanic or white women. The hospitalization rate for breast cancer though was more common among both the white women and African American women compared to the Hispanic women. The total hospital charges for patients with breast cancer that were hospitalized was roughly $252 million. According to the textbook, “Early puberty, late menopause, no or delayed pregnancies, and hormone replacement therapy after menopause all increase the risk.” (Ch 27, pg 1069) In addition there are other certain risk factors to developing breast cancer. A genetic mutation in a gene or two, BRCA1 and BRCA2 incline women to this cancer. It is estimated that 10-50% of women with breast cancer inherited the mutation gene.
Another risk is when you have family history of breast cancer especially in the immediate family such as mother, sister, daughter, father or brother. According to the Journal of Research in Medical and Dental Science, if you have an immediate relative you run an increased chance of getting the disease by 1.8. They also stated that if you have two immediate relatives it is increased up to 3 times and if you have 3 immediate relatives the risk is incremented up to 4 times.
Obesity is another factor. “Breast adipose tissue is a source of increasing the tumor cells.” (Causes of Breast Cancer in Women, pg 366) Other factors related to lifestyle that increase the risk of breast cancer are those who lack physical activity for at least 45-60 minutes a day at least 5 days per week, alcohol consumption raises the level of estrogen and androgen giving a 7-12% risk, air pollution, and food consumption (healthy decreases the risk while unhealthy increases the risk). Apparently taking contraceptive pills for more than 5 years also increases the risk of developing the disease. While breastfeeding for a minimum of at least a year if possible more reduces the risk lightly. There are some symptoms to be on the lookout for to know if you have possibly caught the disease and know to immediately seek a medical exam. The most recognized symptom that many people know is a lump in the breast.
So, it has always been suggested to monitor changes in the breast or nipple preferably daily. It is recommended to monitor any change because there are no obvious symptoms when the disease initially develops. It is not until the cancer starts to grow, when people need to watch for that change. There are various warning signs of breast cancer and each vary depending on the person. In order to protect your health, it is highly recommended to learn the warning signs of the disease. The obvious one is the lump or thickening around or on the breast or even the armpit area.
Another warning sign is if your breast size changes or possibly the shape of it changes. If your nipple all of a sudden becomes tender, discharges, or the nipple is pulled back or inverted into the breast, is another thing to alarm you. Lastly, is the skin. If there are ridges on the breast where the skin appears slightly orange. Besides change of color be aware of any changes in the appearance or sensation of the skin on the breast, nipple, or areola. For instance, if the skin is red, warm, swollen, or possibly scaly.
According to breast cancer sourcebook, “Some women believe that as they age, health problems are due to “growing older.” (Omnigraphics, pg 108) Due to people believing that many of the diseases remain undiagnosed becoming too late when it is finally discovered. It is recommended to screen for cancer before symptoms arrive in order to discover the breast cancer during the early stage. The reason screening is important because when cancer or abnormal tissues are discovered early, it could make the treatment easier because once symptoms have decided to show that means the cancer has started to spread through the body.
Screening tests help find cancer early and help decrease the probability of death. There are different tests used to screen for breast cancer by health care providers. There is the first common known one which is a mammogram. A mammogram is when you get your breast X-rayed.
This helps to find tumors that are too small to see or feel. It also finds ductal carcinoma in situ, which is when “there are abnormal cells in the lining of a breast duct, which may become invasive cancer in some women.” (Omnigraphics, pg 213) The second screening used is the Clinical Breast Exam (CBE). CBE is when a doctor or health professional examines the breast by carefully feeling the breast, the surrounding area, and under the armpits for anything that feels unusual or for any forms of lumps. They typically advise men and women to do breast self-exams on their own. The last screening used is the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for women who are at a high risk of breast cancer.
The MRI takes detailed pictures of the inside of the body using radio waves, magnet, and computer. It is also known as nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI). The main time doctors or health care physicians use this screening method is when a woman has one or more of these factors; family history (first degree relative) diagnosed with breast cancer, certain gene changes, and genetic syndromes (Li-fraumeni or cowden). There are two other screening tests that are being studied in clinical trials such as thermography and tissue sampling. Thermography is a procedure where they use a special camera that has the capacity to sense heat and record the temperature covering the breast. This is important because tumors cause the temperature to change.
There have not been any clinical trials yet using this to determine if it decreases the risk of breast cancer patients from dying. Tissue sampling is when they take cells from the tissue to observe under a microscope. There are three methods being studied for removing tissue samples which are fine-needle aspiration, nipple aspiration, and ductal lavage. Scientists are still studying this method to see if it helps find cancer during early stage or predict the development of breast cancer. Once something is discovered during a mammogram, doctors will run more tests to determine is one needs a biopsy. A biopsy is the test where doctors remove tissue from the breast, just a small amount to test. They remove it using a surgical biopsy or core-needle biopsy. This test will tell you if that area is truly cancer.
There are stages in breast cancer and in order to determine if it has spread to other body parts or within the breast, doctors run tests. It is extremely important to know the stage of the cancer in order to determine a treatment plan. Some of the tests and procedures are sentinel lymph node biopsy, chest x-ray, CT scan (CAT scan), bone scan, positron emission tomography scan (PET scan).
Cancer can spread through the tissue, lymph system, and blood. Stage 0 is called the Carcinoma in Situ. There are 3 types of breast carcinoma in situ which are ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), and Paget disease of the nipple. Stage 1 has 2 stages which is IA and IB. IA the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and the cancer is only at the breast and hasn’t spread. IB stage is small clusters of breast cancer cells that is between 0.2 millimeter to 2 millimeters in the lymph nodes.
Stage II has 2 stages which are IIA and IIB. Stage IIIA is when the imaging test or physical exam has discovered the cancer is 4 to 9 axillary lymph nodes or the lymph nodes is near the breastbone. Stage IIIB the tumor could be any size in which the cancer has caused ulcer and/or swelling to the breast and has spread up to 9 axillary lymph nodes. Stage IIIC cancer has same notices as stage IIIB except the cancer has spread to 10 or more axillary lymph nodes. Stage IV is when the cancer spread to other areas of the body; typically, the liver, lungs, brain or bones. There are different treatments available for patients with breast cancer. One of the main ones is surgery. Patients undergo surgery in order to try to remove the cancer.
There is breast-conserving surgery in which they remove the cancer but not the breast. There is a total mastectomy where they remove the whole breast that has cancer. Then there is modified radical mastectomy where they remove the whole breast that is infected, lymph nodes in the armpit, part of muscles in the chest wall and lining over the chest muscle. Chemotherapy is given typically given before they do the procedure to remove the tumor because it helps shrink the tumor while reducing the quantity of tissues needed to be removed during the operation. There is also Radiation Therapy.
This treatment is when they use high energy rays in order to kill cells that have cancer and also destroy mutated cells remaining in the under arm and breast. Then there is chemotherapy which is a treatment using drugs to kill cells in order to stop the cancer cells from growing. Hormone therapy is another treatment plan. This therapy removes hormones and prevents the growing of the cancer cells.
Targeted therapy is the use of drugs to attack certain cells while at the same time not affecting the cells that are normal. Breast cancer has always been something I constantly check for on myself. I did not know there were screenings that are recommended for those who have one of the high risks.
My mother passed away from breast cancer when I was just six years old and my sister had caught it right away that they were able to remove it before it spread. So due to my family history I definitely wanted to research more about this disease. I learned that I am a good candidate for the screening from my doctor. I also learned that there are so many different forms of treatments for those diagnosed more than I even thought. I was only aware of chemotherapy.