Breast Cancer

By: Erin Moyer Pd. 9


Breast cancer occurs when mutations occur in the genes that are responsible for regulating growth of cells and for keeping the cells healthy. This causes an uncontrolled growth rate of breast cells and because of the large number of cells, a tumor may from. Breast cancer can start in the lobules (milk-producing glands), ducts (passages that drain milk from the lobules), or in the normal tissue of the breast. There are two types, invasive and non-invasive breast cancer. Invasive is when the cancer is in the normal, healthy tissues of the breast (more common). Non-invasive is when the cancer forms in the milk ducts or lobules and doesn't spread to any nearby tissue.


Some people may have no symptoms but redness or swollen lymph nods can be a sign of breast cancer. Also, discomfort or a lump in the breast is another sign. You could experience changes in the shape or texture of the nipple or breast as well as bloody discharge from the nipple.
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Environmental/Health Factors:

Drinking alcohol and being overweight/obese after menopause has shown to increase risk of breast cancer. Also, exposure to ionizing radiation through procedures such as CT Scans has shown and increased risk of breast cancer. It is also believed that the risk of getting breast cancer can be increased due to menopausal hormone therapy containing estrogen and progestin.


Some abnormal genes can increase the risk of breast cancer and so families with the abnormal genes could potentially pass it down to their children. Though this may frighten some, only 10% of women with breast cancer have inherited an abnormal beast cancer gene.

How Diagnosed

There are many tests/procedures that can be done to diagnose breast cancer. Biopsy maybe done to the study the tissue to see if there is any cancer present. Breast ultrasound uses sound waves to outline the parts of the breast. This is helpful for looking for changes in the breasts. A mammogram maybe done, which is an X-ray of the breasts. A ductogram maybe done to help look in the duct of the nipple if there is unusual discharge coming out of it.
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Treatments may consist of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Surgery may include lymphadenectom (removal of the lymph node), lumpectomy (removal of a tumor in the breast), or mastectomy (removal of some or all of the breast). Treatments will vary depending on the stage of the cancer.
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Who is most likely to have breast cancer

Breast cancer is present mostly in women and is more likely when at the age of 55 or older. Whites are slightly more likely of getting breast cancer, but African Americans are more likely to die of breast cancer. It has been seen to be more common in African Americans in those 45 and under. Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans have a lower risk of getting or dying from breast cancer. Women who start menstruating early (before 12 years old), or women who go through menopause later (after 55 years old) have a slightly higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.


Breast cancer can be prevented if some precautions are taken. This includes staying at a healthy weight and being physically active. Also, you should get regular screening so that if you were to get breast cancer it can be found early and treated right away. It is also recommended to limit your alcohol intake.


About 1 in 8 (12%) of women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. It is estimated that there will be 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 61,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer in 2016.