Breast Cancer

Essay by mjm777A+, May 2005

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"In 2004, it is estimated that about 216,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S, along with 59,390 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer." (Breast 1) Cancer is a very complex being. It has the ability to transform cells, grow, migrate (metastasize), grow its own blood vessels, and virtually take over the being it inhabits. While the previous lyric is very apt in its meaning, scientists have come close to identifying the causes of cancer. Whereas some causes are lifestyle oriented, others are an integral part of ourselves, they are part of what makes us, us. The genome is a playground where anything can happen - mutation due to carcinogen, change due to genetic inheritance of mutated genes, and many other origins. While breast cancer is only one area of the body affected by cancer, every human runs the risk of developing one form or another.

Breast cancer is the number two cancer killer among females 15-54. On average if a woman gets this disease, their life expectancy drops drastically. Breast cancer is rare in women under the age of 20 and is very rare in women under the age of 30. When women hit the age of 50 the incidence of breast cancer rises significantly. This cancer is within the top three cancers of all women above the age of 15, and comprises a great amount of all health care costs in the U.S. totaling an astounding 37 billion dollars a year in direct medical costs. The chance of getting breast cancer over the course of an entire lifetime, assembly you live to age 90, is one in 8, with an overall lifetime risk of 12.5%. (Brest 1) Out of all breast cancers, 70% are sporadic, 20 - 25% are polygenic (related to a...



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