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Breast Cancer: Etiology, Signs & Symptoms


Breast cancer has become one of the most popular diseases among women all over the world. This form of cancer is characterized by the growth of abnormal cells in the breast tissues. Breast cancer is believed to have claimed many human lives in the last four decades, but its prevalence rate has decreased significantly due to improved disease awareness and treatment (Coltrera & Kaelin 216). Additionally, the observed decrease in breast cancer prevalence rate can also be attributed to effective breast cancer screening that has enabled Healthcare professionals to detect breast cancer cells during the early stages of the disease onset.

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Recent medical statistics show that 230, 480 women in the United States of America have invasive breast cancer. Further medical reports show that 57, 650 women in the U.S have noninvasive breast cancer (Stoppler 1). Consequently, it is estimated that the prevalence rate of breast cancer has reached 13 percent, and this aspect has made the number of breast cancer survivors in the U.S to reach 2.5 million individuals.

Ductal breast cancer has been documented to be the most prevalent in the U.S. Its prevalence rate is estimated to be 80%, while lobular breast cancer has been found to be the second popular with a prevalence rate of 15%. Other forms of breast cancer such as inflammatory breast cancer and angiosarcoma occur at a prevalence rate of 5% (Ogden 41). Breast cancer is posing serious threats to women, although men have also been found to suffer from breast cancer. Therefore, this research paper will give an overview of the breast cancer disease.

Research Statement

Understanding breast cancer requires vast knowledge about breast cancer symptoms, disease etiology and treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer begins as an asymptomatic disease, but its signs and symptoms become conspicuous as the disease progresses. Ordinarily, abnormality on mammography is usually suspected to be caused by the growth of cancerous cells in the breast tissues. Additionally, development of persistent breast lump especially above the collarbone and the armpit serve as the principal signs of breast cancer (Stoppler 3). Other principal symptoms of breast cancer include nipple inversion and breast discharge, but intensive evaluation has to be conducted by a physician so as to ascertain whether these symptoms are associated with breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Etiology

It has been found that breast cancer in women is caused by issues associated with age and gender, but there are no known etiological agents. Risk factors that are believed to be associated with breast cancer can be categorized into three determinants: environmental factors, hormonal and reproductive factors, and family history factors (Stoppler 2). Recent epidemiologic analysis indicates that about 78 percent of breast cancer occurs in postmenopausal women. Further epidemiological studies show that about 73 percent of breast cancer is caused by environmental factors (Ogden 39).

Breast Cancer Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures

Breast cancer diagnosis includes mammography, examination of the breast and ultrasonography. However, biopsy analysis serves as the definitive approach to diagnose breast cancer in women. Breast examination is conducted to identify the lump, and then mammograms help to define the nature of the breast lump. Ultrasound and MRI provide detailed information about the conditions identified through mammography (Stoppler 5). Finally, histopathological investigations are carried out using breast tissue biopsies so as to identify breast cancer cells.

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Treatment of Breast Cancer

Treatment of breast cancer consists of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Chemotherapy involves adjuvant chemotherapy and therapeutic chemotherapy, and these approaches aim at destroying breast cancer cells. On the other hand, surgery is conducted to remove breast cancer cells especially through lumpectomy, while radiation involves directing radiation beams to the affected region so as to destroy breast cancer cells (Stoppler 7).


In a brief conclusion, breast cancer is claiming many lives in the United States of America. Therefore, efficient breast cancer management approaches are required so as to reduce its prevalence rate. Some of the key approaches that can be adopted for management of breast cancer include creating public awareness, disease screening and disease treatment. U.S citizens require vast understanding about the risk factors that lead to breast cancer, so as to be informed about the most appropriate prevention measures that will help to reduce the prevalence rate of breast cancer among women (Ogden 117).

Works Cited

Coltrera, Francesca & C. Kaelin. Living through Breast Cancer: What a Harvard Doctor and Survivor Wants You to Know about Getting the Best Care While Preserving Your Self-Image, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2005. Print.

Ogden, Joy. Understanding Breast Cancer, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2004. Print.

Stoppler, Melissa 2011, Breast Cancer. Web.

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