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Disease Research: Breast Cancer


Breast cancer is a multifactorial, complex illness that demands proper clinical understanding and a multidisciplinary way to determine diagnosis and treatment. Over 250,000 females in the US are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer every year (Watkins, 2019). The overall mortality rate for such patients has decreased; the disease remains the second most prevalent cause of cancer-related death in women (Watkins, 2019). Moreover, the death rate amongst black women persists irregularly high. Awareness of this illness, individual attentiveness, and improvement in technology have positively influenced the identification and treatment of breast cancer. Therefore, the notable mortality decline in breast cancer in the United States from 1975 to 2000 is associated with continuous mammography and disease management improvement (Akram et al., 2017). Therefore, to understand the disease’s complexity, it is essential to research its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

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The causes and processes leading to breast cancer emergence are multifaceted and are not adequately understood, but several risk factors are identified. Age and female sex are considered to be the most prevalent causes. Thus, breast cancer most generally occurs in women aged 40 to 50 (Akram et al., 2017). Moreover, genetic variations, especially BRCA 1 and 2, estimate approximately 10% of all cases (Watkins, 2019). Additional well-documented factors involve an account of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), obesity, late childbirth, and early occurrence of the first menstrual cycle. Moreover, a family account of breast or ovarian cancer delayed menopause, and subsequent hormone treatment is also considered to be contributing factors (Watkins, 2019). Among the latter, white women with a regular body mass index (BMI) and dense breasts are at the highest risk level.

Furthermore, women who were exposed to chest radiation also belong to a risk category. Different breast cancer subtypes are linked to distinct histologies and diagnoses. This disease is also distinguished by its anatomical foundation, either lobular or ductal, and its human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) expression (Watkins, 2019). Finally, vitamin D deficiency and lack of exposure to sunlight are regarded to be the vital cause of breast cancer (Akram et al., 2017). Therefore, despite some significant contributing factors, the additional causes of breast cancer are still being researched by medical scholars.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

To timely seek medical attention, it is essential to understand the symptoms and diagnosis steps. A palpable breast volume is visible in nearly 30% of females with breast cancer (Watkins, 2019). Noticeable symptoms linked with breast cancer involve “dimpling, an orange-peel appearance (peau d’orange), erythema, edema, blistering, excoriations, sanguineous nipple discharge, and nipple retraction” (Watkins, 2019, p. 14). Moreover, skin modifications, including peau d’orange and blistering, are tightly connected with inflammatory breast cancer and other breast-associated diseases. The issues with nipples are related to papillary breast neoplasia, and lastly, ulcerations are observed during terminal stages.

The diagnosis of a palpable breast lump in a female combines potential conditions, including breast blister, papilloma, and skin-elasticity changes. When a pediatrician has palpated a breast section, the following actions are to visit ultrasound and a mammogram. These tools are considered to be an initial step of the cancer diagnosis. MRI can be utilized in some situations, such as in cases of solid breasts and individuals with a previous account of breast cancer (Watkins, 2019). The diagnosis is confirmed through a biopsy test, primarily ultrasound-guided needle kind. Overall, the breast cancer symptoms and diagnosis should begin with the visit to a physician based on the possible signs or during a regular screening.


Lastly, breast cancer treatment includes the engagement of various disciplines and specialists. Most women diagnosed with early-stage cancer undergo breast-conserving surgery, and radiotherapy or mastectomy follow the procedure (Moo, 2018). The risk of cancer returning and risk to the patient do not diverge with these methods. Moreover, a sentinel node biopsy is important for axillary staging, while differentiated approaches limit the need for axillary dissection in women who are sentinel node-positive. Patients with hormone receptor-positive cancers can benefit from specific treatment based on their case advances in molecular profiling. At the same time, adjuvant systemic therapy has been found to increase survival rates.

After the procedure, patients are recommended to continue with physical examinations and receive a mammography every year. In cases where symptoms are not visible, there is little indication that regular imaging has positive effects after adjuvant systemic treatment (Moo, 2018). New methods for tumor detection, while useful, would have to complete clinical trials to come into use. Post-diagnosis, the patients should be advised on limiting the chances of recurrence, primarily through maintaining physical health and a regular body body-mass index. Routine visits by asymptomatic patients reveal roughly 40% of recurring cancer cases, identifying the importance of regular surveillance and follow-up (Akram et al., 2017). Overall, both treatment and follow-up care are widely available in the United States.

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In conclusion, breast cancer is a severe disease broadly prevalent in the United States and globally. Although the mortality rates are declining, breast cancer is still prevalent among black women. Overall, it is essential to comprehend risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment to be fully informed of the disease. Various causes contribute to breast cancer emergence, including age, BMI, genetics, and other attributes. The symptoms can vary but can be spotted by a physician. However, further diagnoses require technology intervention. If proper precautions, such as annual check-ups, are taken, the risk of breast cancer returning is low.


Akram, M., Iqbal, M., Daniyal, M., & Khan, A. U. (2017). Awareness and current knowledge of breast cancer. Biological Research, 50(1), 2-23. Web.

Moo, T. A., Sanford, R., Dang, C., & Morrow, M. (2018). Overview of breast cancer therapy. PET Clinics, 13(3), 339–354. Web.

Watkins, E., J. (2019). Overview of breast cancer. Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, 32(10), 13-17. Web.

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