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Researching Cancer - Essay Example

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The inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a form of malignant cancer which starts at the cellular level in the lymphatic system of the breast (Life Extension, 1995). During the normal growth process in women, and especially during puberty, the breast duct grows into a tree-like…
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Download file to see previous pages al, 2005). However, sometimes the breast cells, which are especially sensitive to cancer causing agents (carcinogens), may change to abnormal cells that multiply out of control, causing cancer. Researchers suspect that interaction between estrogen and certain cyclins like cyclin-D1 can stimulate cell division (Clark et. al, 2005). They have also found that over-expression of the growth factor TGF-alpha can also trigger increased cell division in breast cells (Clark et. al, 2005).
Unlike other type of breast cancers which present itself with a breast lump, IBC grows quickly in the narrow lymph vessels of the breast. The rapidly increasing breast cancer cells block the local lymphatic ducts in the breast, which is responsible for draining the waste, bacteria, viruses, excess and impurities from each part of the body and also help to carry useful white blood cells or lymphocytes and large proteins to the circulatory system (Virtual Medical Center, 2010). This restriction in drainage causes edematous swelling of the breast and nipple retraction (Virtual Medical Center, 2010).
The IBC usually grows in nests or sheets and therefore, it can be diffuse throughout the breast with no palpable mass (Anderson, 2006). In inflammatory breast cancer, the cancer cells occupy large portions of the breast within a period of few weeks to months. Accumulation of the lymphatic fluid gives the skin of the breast a dimpled appearance like that of an orange peel (peau d’orange) (Life Extension, 1995). Other symptoms include rapid increase in breast size, redness, persistent itching and the skin feels hot to touch (Life Extension, 1995).
IBC progresses rapidly and therefore it is not generally diagnosed until it is in Stage III or Stage IV, when the signs like edematous swelling of the breast, muscle aches and pains become more prominent (Rahn, 2006). This advanced and accelerated form of breast cancer cannot be usually detected by mammograms or ultrasounds (Life ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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