Breast Cancer Essay, Research Paper
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in most in
women today (?NABCO: Facts About Breast Cancer? 1). It is a known fact
that its cure and origin are unknown. Breast cancer is when an
uncontrolled growth of cells without a specific function form in the breast
area of a person, killing normal cells and tissue. This process in turn
causes a lump or mass to form known as cancer. Although breast cancer
cannot be prevented, there are some steps a person can take to reduce
the risks. These steps are knowing your family history, routine self breast
examinations, yearly routine mammograms for women 40 and over, and
an annual breast examination by a medical professional.
Every woman is at risk for breast cancer and she is at an even
higher risk if she has a family history of breast cancer. That?s why it is
extremely important for every woman to know her family history. About
10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary and that the most common of
these result from mutations (changes) of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Normally, these genes help to prevent cancer by making proteins that
keep the cells from growing abnormally. (?American Cancer Association:
Breast Cancer Resource Center? 3). Even if your family doesn?t have the
history, it?s good information to have for future reference.
Second, a woman should perform a monthly breast self
examination (BSE). The best time to perform a BSE is about a week after
the menstrual cycle ends. For women that have irregular menstrual
cycles it?s recommended to perform the BSE on the same day of every
month. The BSE is a quick and simple process. If you have a regular
gynecologist or family physician they can give you information on how to
perform the process properly or show you while performing it on you.
Also, the American Cancer Association has directions on their website on
how to perform it at:
According to the American Cancer Association the process is as
Lie down with a pillow under your right shoulder and place your
right arm behind your head.
Use the finger pads of the three middle fingers on your left hand to
feel for lumps in the right breast.
Press firmly enough to know how your breast feels. A firm ridge in
the lower curve of each breast is normal. If you’re not sure how
hard to press, talk to your doctor or nurse.
Move around the breast in a circular, up and down line, or wedge
pattern. Be sure to do it the same way every time, check the entire
breast area, and remember how your breast feels from month to
Repeat the exam on your left breast, using the finger pads of the
right hand. (Move the pillow to under your left shoulder.)
If you find any changes, see your doctor right away.
Repeat the examination of both breasts while standing, with your one
arm behind your head. The upright position makes it easier to check
the upper and outer part of the breasts (toward your armpit). This is
where about half of breast cancers are found. You may want to do the
standing part of the BSE while you are in the shower. Some breast
changes can be felt more easily when your skin is wet and soapy.
(?American Cancer Association: Breast Cancer Resource Center? 17).
Another risk reducing step of breast cancer, is a yearly routine
mammogram for women ages 40 and over. A mammogram is an x-ray
of the breast. It?s used to detect breast disease. The x-ray is usually
performed while the person is in a upright position while standing.
Separately, each breast is pressed between two metal plates while the
x-ray machine takes pictures of the breast. This exam is extremely
important and has been added to all health insurance policies as a
payable benefit by the United States Health Department. According to
?Breast Cancer Resource Center,? the chance of developing breast
cancer increases with age in women. About 77% of women with breast
cancer are over age 50 at the time of diagnosis (3).
For ages 40 and over a clinical breast examination should be
performed by a medical professional each year. For ages 20 through 39,
this same exam should be performed every three years. The clinical
exam is the same exam as the BSE. The only difference is the exam is
performed by a person formally trained in the medical field and usually
performs this process everyday. During this examination is when the
medical professional would teach you how to correctly perform the BSE at
The whole process of steps in reducing risks of breast cancer are
simple and not at all time consuming. Maintaining a history of your
family, performing routine self breast examinations, setting yearly routine
mammograms for women 40 and over, and getting annual breast
examinations by a medical professional are all that?s needed. Each step
required can only help in educating oneself to understand breast cancer.
For more education you can always contact you family medical
professional. You can also visit the American Cancer Association at
ge=ENGLISH for facts, factors, and additional resources on breast cancer.
American Cancer Association. Breast Cancer Resource Center 2000. 20
?Types of Breast Cancer,? Bethesda, M.D.: National Cancer Institute,
National Association of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO). Facts
About Breast Cancer in the USA 5 Feb 2000. 20 Nov 2000.