Breast cancer has in the recent past been said to be among the leading killers of humankind especially women, who are the vulnerable sex as regards to this malady. Statistics unveil that there are over a million cases of breast cancer and over 500, 000 deaths every year across the globe (Tabar, Tot and Dean 5). While efforts are usually concentrated in developed nations, susceptible populace in developing areas have little or no access to medical help and some death cases even go unrecorded. Indeed, many deaths are witnessed in developing areas where there is low public awareness targeted especially to the most susceptible populace in a bid to help them realize the importance of regular breast cancer check. However, even though others get to realize early that they are victims, there is little for them to do because of the huge costs associated with breast cancer therapy. As such, most of them shy away helplessly and only survive by the mercy of God. Just like any other disease, breast cancer has certain risk factors, its signs and symptoms are known, can be prevented, and it is manageable. This essay seeks to provide an in-depth analysis of the topic from a succinct understanding of the subject matter.
The first cases of breast cancer can be traced back in 1600 BC in the land of Egypt (Tabar, Tot and Dean 4). However, these cases were uncommon until the nineteenth century when the then curious physicians discovered that the many deaths that were now growing uncontrollably could actually be avoided. As such, they began to advocate the need for increased sanitation among individuals as a measure to reduce high mortality rate among patients suffering from breast cancer. Even though they believed that there was no cure, they preferred pharmacological treatment to surgery. This involved the use of herbs such as arsenic poison as a trusted medical practice. It was until late 1670s when surgery became common when a French surgeon successfully removed breast tissues affected by breast cancer (Tabar, Tot and Dean 6). Since then, conspicuous developments in line with technological advancements have helped to improve the treatment for breast cancer with increased awareness for early cancer screening, which has indeed proved helpful in reducing breast cancer related deaths. It is certainly the world’s dream that this deadly disease will at one time be eradicated for the sake of life.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that grows from the tissues of the breast in the human body. Although breast cancer is associated with women, men too are affected by the same but their cases are rare due to biological reasons. Essentially, there are two main types of breast cancer including ductal carcinoma, which is the most common type that attacks from the inner walls of the milk ducts and the lobular carcinoma that starts from the milk glands (Peacock 45). The common early and noticeable signs and symptoms of breast cancer include a lump(s), disfigured shape of breasts, skin gelasin and/or skin reddening. The disease may also be noticed from a far when one experiences pain in their bones, their lymph nodes begin to swell, and their breath starts to shorten. Yellow skin is also a possible sign of breast cancer (Mantel 23). Global breast cancer campaign endeavors to educate and sensitize people on the need to do a regular physical check on their own and notice any changes in their breast because of the fact that it helps them to seek medical attention early before the condition worsens. Prevention measures can quickly be taken to reduce the spread of the cancer tissues that may lead to complete damage of the breast or ultimately the demise of an individual.
The risk factors behind breast cancer include failure to do physical exercise, obesity, alcoholism, old age, ionizing radiation, and hormone replacement therapy during menopause (Link, Waisman and Link 15). While these are the main identified causes of this deadly disease, there are scientific claims that breast cancer is gene related and that the since there is a possibility of inheriting these genes, one can still be a victim without exposure to the aforementioned factors. In addition, the female sex is certainly another risk factor among cancer related cases worldwide. Breast cancer risk factors are categorized into three broad classes including genetics, lifestyle, and medical conditions (Fredericks 10). However, like other cancers, breast cancer occurs when an external factor comes into contact with a genetic matter inside a vulnerable host.
Breast cancer screening is mainly carried out in two different techniques including, mammography and physical check either on their own or by a medical practitioner (Link, Waisman and Link 27). Screening basically helps to identify a lump in the breast and then before diagnosis, the physician takes a sample fluid from the patient for microscopic analysis to ascertain cancer cells. If ascertained that one has breast cancer, the doctor can then go ahead with accurate diagnosis. Additionally, depending on the level or severity of the cancer in terms of degree of spread, the doctor may go ahead to conduct a surgery in order to remove part of the infected area if partly infected or the whole of the breast if confirmed that cancerous cells have spread throughout the breast. Essentially, treatment of breast cancer is more complex than it sounds because it requires a series of tests in a bid to detect cancerous cells to enable the doctors apply the best and reliable treatment approach for accuracy. The doctor should then be able to provide prescribed medication of drugs, which is a practice done even before and after the surgery as long as one has been confirmed to have breast cancer (Link, Waisman and Link 98). The disease is said to have significant economic impacts due to huge costs involved in its treatment. Therefore, the community should come together and help through contributions in a bid to save the life of that person.
In conclusion, like any other serious diseases, prevention of breast cancer can be done in several ways especially among women through regular physical exercise, avoid drinking or limit the level of alcohol, and breastfeeding of children. While practicing the aforementioned is not a guarantee of living a breast cancer free life, it reduces the risk of breast cancer by about 40 per cent. People are always advised to conduct a physical examination on their own in such a manner that should they notice a suspicious lump or feel some unusual change in their breast, they should visit a physician so that early treatment can be administered. Although women from the developing nations have no or little access to proper medication on breast cancer, it is advised that they should not give up but seek medication as soon as possible.
Fredericks, Carrie. Breast cancer. New York: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Print
Link, John S., James Waisman and Nancy Link. The breast cancer survival manual : a step-by-step guide for women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. New York: Henry Holt and Co. , 2012. Print
Mantel, Barbara. Breast cancer. New York: Cengage Learning, Inc. , 2010. Print
Peacock, Judith. Breast Cancer: Perspectives on disease and illness. Mankato: Capstone, 2001. Print
Tabar, Laszlo, Tibor Tot and Peter B. Dean. Breast Cancer – The Art and Science of Early Detection with Mammography: Perception, Interpretation, Histopathologic Correlation. Stuttgart: Thieme, 2011. Print