Breast Cancer

By Kristin Meader and Tina Clay

Definition of Breast Cancer:

Breast cancer is the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells from the breast tissue. This uncontrolled division of cells eventually will lead to the formation of a tumor, which is very likely to spread throughout surrounding tissues. (Blackwell)

Fig 1. Breast Cancer Awareness (McGough)

What are the Symptoms of breast cancer?

There are some symptoms for breast cancer, however more than 70% of women with show no symptoms before being diagnosed. Here are a few of the known symptoms:

  • breast discomfort or pain
  • armpit swelling
  • skin ulcers
  • weight loss
  • bone loss


How prevalent is breast cancer?

- 12 % of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life, that is 1 in every 8 women

- In the US breast cancer has the second highest mortality rate in women, behind lung cancer. It is also the second most diagnosed cancer in women worldwide.

- There are more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. (

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Fig 2. Early Detection Saves Lives (Government Book Talk)

What happens at the cellular and molecular level?

Breast cancer starts with a single cancerous cell. That cell invades the breast tissue and then it starts to multiply. Once it has started to multiply, the new cancerous cells will spread out and invade the surrounding tissues. Once more cells start to spread out , the breast tissue begins to lose it's adhesion. Once that adhesion is lost the cancerous cells can move throughout the breast tissue much faster, causing it to spread much more rapidly. Also, every time that the cancerous cell multiplies it evolves and changes how it responds to certain drugs. This makes it very difficult to treat. (E.A. McSherry)

Picture Source: Fig. 1 Cancer Cell (The Guardian)

What are the possible causes of breast cancer?

The cause of breast cancer is unclear, but there are many things that can increase your chances of being diagnosed.

Here are some of the most likely causes:

- old age

- family history with breast cancer (if a mother of a sister has breast cancer you are three times more likely to be diagnosed). There are two genes that are passed down through your family that have been linked to breast cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2).

- Obesity

- increased alcohol drinking (more than one day)

- a diet high in calories from fat

More facts on the causes:

Half of the women diagnosed with breast cancer have some family history with breast cancer.

A woman has over 200 genes and just one can greatly increase her chances of being diagnosed.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 cause bring your risk of being diagnosed up to 80

5 higher.

Below is a video on how to stay healthy and avoid your chances of getting breast cancer!

(Sujana Movva)

Breast Health Day 2015 - Official video

Source: Breast Health Organization. Breast Health Day 2015. Youtube. Google, 17 Sept. 2015. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <>.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

There are a few ways to test and diagnose breast cancer:

Breast Ultrasound - uses soundwaves to take a sonogram of the inside of the breast

Diagnostic Mammogram - a detailed x-ray of the breast usually used AFTER a lump or other abnormal thing is spotted.

MRI - A detailed body scan that produces images of inside the breast tissue.

Biopsy - Tissue or fluid from the breast is removed, tested and examined under a microscope. (Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC))

What are the treatments and cures?

There is a wide variety of treatment options including surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and bone directed therapy. Deciding on what treatment to use is based on how far along your cancer is and the effectiveness of the treatment.

There are two types of therapy used to treat breast cancer:

Local therapy: only affects the part of the body that the tumor is in (examples: radiation, surgery, etc.).

Systemic therapy: drugs that are used to treat cancer whether they are pills or directly injected into the bloodstream (example: chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy)

Even if no cancer is detected, many patients will still receive treatment to prevent the cancer from coming back, this is called adjuvant therapy. Sometimes cells will break away and stay undetected until they come back in another tissue, adjuvant therapy helps prevent that by killing those cells.

Some other patients are given neoadjuvant therapy, which is therapy before surgery in order to shrink the tumor to make it easier to remove. If you have neoadjuvant surgery your chances of needing adjuvant surgery will go down. (

Works Cited

Tina's Sources:

1) Blackwell, Amy Hackney, and Elizabeth Manor, eds. "Cancer." Gale Group. Science

in Context, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <>

I found three articles,first was " Breast Cancer" from " The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine 2015". It is a new article, i founded the same information in others websites too, so it wasn't lie or wrong information. Also the source was great. Langues was not really hard, it was easy to understand and to read. The database helped me because, the website that i choose was reliable to m, also it was easy to answered my questions.And the database is sorted the sources, so i wasn't lost or confused.

2) “How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, 28 Aug. 2014. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <>.

3) “U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics.” N.p., 23 Oct. 2015. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <>.

Kristin's Sources:

1) Breast Health Organization. Breast Health Day 2015. Youtube. Google, 17 Sept. 2015. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <>.

2) "How is Breast Cancer Treated?" American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, 10 June 2015. Web. 19 Dec. 2015. <>.

3) McSherry, EA, et al. “Molecular Basis of Invasion in Breast Cancer.” PubMed. National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine, 6 Dec. 2007. Web. 19 Dec. 2015. <>. The primary author, E.A. McSherry, works in the Department of Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland. She has had five papers of breast cancer published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information and has assisted in the writings of many other papers. The paper that I read was fairly short, but very thorough and detailed. It seemed to be written for someone who already had some background in science because of the high level of vocabulary in it the article.It was very helpful to clarify and answer my questions about the molecular activity in breast cancer and left me with no unanswered questions. The only concern that I had was the date that this was published. It was published in 2007 so my concern is that we might have more information on this topic currently that is not in this paper.

4) Movva, Sujana, MD., ed. “What Causes Breast Cancer?” Web MD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2015. <>.


1) “Breast Cancer Awarness.” McGough. N.p., 3 Nov. 2014. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <>.

2) “Breast Cancer Cell.” The Guardian. N.p., 8 Feb. 2011. Web. 21 Dec. 2015. <>.

3) "Early Detection." Goverment Book Talk. Wordpress, 22 Oct. 2013. Web. 22 Dec.
2015. < awareness-of-breast-cancer/>.