Breast Cancer - Research Paper Example

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Breast Cancer Class Title/Section # June 16, 2013 Breast Cancer History of the Condition Breast cancer is one of the few types of cancer that have been recognized since ancient times. This is due to the fact that breast cancer materializes both externally and internally; the cancer takes place within the breast, yet the breast lumps can manifest as visible tumors…
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Download file to see previous pages The first reference to breast cancer appeared more than 3,500 years ago in ancient Greece (Aronowitz, 2007). The condition was described accurately as a bulging tumor of the breast of which no cure was known. Between 460 B.C. and 200 A.D., physicians from Hippocrates to Galen made efforts to understand the structure of a cancer tumor, noting especially the black fluid that is released when a tumor bursts. Since there were no methods to slow the progress of breast cancer, it became a disease that affected the entire body, making treatment options like surgery not a viable possibility. More breakthroughs were made during the 17th and 18th centuries, during which theories were debunked and others were formed to gain a better understanding of what causes breast cancer. French physicians Francois de la Boe Sylvius and Claude-Deshais Gendron were among the first to find connections between the transformation of lymphatic fluids and glandular tissue and the occurrence of breast cancer (Lacroix, 2011). Friedrich Hoffman also hypothesized that lymphatic blockage caused breast cancer but as a result of too much or not enough sex. Though the causes of breast cancer were continuously debated, it was in 1757 when French physician Henri Le Dran determined that removing the tumor and infected lymph nodes could treat breast cancer, thus creating the modern mastectomy. The 19th and 20th centuries brought with them more treatment options for breast cancer. William Halstead, a New York surgeon, introduced other methods of breast removal, from the entire breast to just the cancerous sections. It was also discovered, by Scottish surgeon George Beatson, that the removal of ovaries decreased the size of tumors as the estrogen from ovaries help tumors to grow. Then, in 1955, physicians George Crile and Bernard Fisher confirmed what physicians from centuries past assumed: cancer was not localized but was capable of spreading if left untreated. This is where our current knowledge of breast cancer ends. Causes Breast cancer is among many other forms of cancer in which there are no definite causes of the condition. It is known that “breast cancer develops when some cells within the breasts grow abnormally (Pasqualini, 2008)”. Unlike healthier cells, these mutated cells divide more rapidly and then gather together until they create a mass or lump, which is the point of cancer. These cancerous cells then have the ability to spread through the breast and to other parts of the body. However, while the formation of the mutated cells is almost entirely understood, it is not yet clear what prompts these cells to grow the way that they do, thus causing breast cancer. Despite not knowing the precise causes of breast cancer, doctors and scientists have discovered factors that can increase one’s risk of developing this condition. One such risk factor is gender with women being more prone to developing breast cancer than men, though men are not immune to this condition. Genetics are another risk factor as some cases of breast cancer are believed to be hereditary, which would involve an individual with breast cancer passing on the mutated genes to their children. Similarly, individuals who have a family history of breast cancer are at risk for developing the condition. Lifestyle factors can also pose a risk, including ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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