It is in the world domain that the human species is faced by many challenges. These challenges can be classified under natural disasters or man induced disasters. If we were to look at epidemics, we can say that the human species dwells in a world where at one time or the other one has to be attacked by an abnormal condition. Abnormal condition negatively affects some part or the whole body of an organism, preventing it from operating at maximum potential (Greg, 41). When an organism experiences abnormal conditions it is said it is sick or has a disease.
There are many diseases in the world. Some are curable while others are not. For example, every since the discovery of Hiv/Aids, no cure has been engineered yet. However, the disease can be contained under medication, although it is not curable once it has attached itself on an organism. In this case study, I will address another disease which has continued to threaten the lives of many women in the world as days go by. I will address breast cancer. Cancer can be defined as uncontrollable growth of cells in an organism’s body resulting in to malignant tumors (Fulekar, 23). These tumors then start attacking the host cells in the nearby areas, or even spread to other regions of the body through the blood stream. Professions in this field of medicine have also outlined the lymphatic system as a facilitator of spreading cancerous cells to the other parts of the body (Taghian, Alphonse & Michele, 7).
Many people in the world assume that whenever a physician tells them they have a tumor, it means they have cancer. Since this is not the case, physicians in this field have strongly come out to explain that not all tumors are cancerous (Sauders, Christobel & Sunil, 28). Physicians have continued to ask people should be more patient, and wait for the right diagnosis to confirm whether a tumor is cancerous or not. There are many types of cancers with most of them being named after the areas in which they affect. Going back to breast cancer, it is the most prevalent cancer affecting our women all over the world. This cancer affects the breast cells especially in the part of the milk ducts. It also affects the vessels lobules responsible for supplying milk to the milk ducts (Fulekar, 69). This disease has proven to be a headache to many women in the world, and research has also shown than man can also contact the disease. In fact, a few males in the world have been diagnosed with the disease also it is not as common as in women.
Research has shown that this disease is not hereditary. Medical practitioners have classified it as an environmental disease. This is because it seems it is not passed down through generations. Agents that facilitate growth of cancerous cells are also environmental, and under no circumstances should a person be alarmed just because a family member has been diagnosed with the disease (Anderson, 92). All subjects that have been diagnosed with cancer have at one time have come into contact with agents that facilitate growth of cancerous cells. These include; radiation, abuse of alcohol, tobacco, environmental pollutants, obesity, stress and lack of exercise (Fulekar, 69). Other than the above agents, there are infections that facilitate growth of cancerous cells depending on the treatment a person receives, and part of the body that had been infected.
Detecting any cancer at an early stage can be very hard. This is because cancerous cells manifest themselves inside the host organism before any signs or symptoms can be detected (Taghian, Alphonse & Michele, 59). This means that early cancer is not painful like other diseases hence it is hard to detect. Breast cancer is no exception. Many women do not realize they have the disease until mass ulcerate tumors have been generated (Saunders, Christobel & Sunil, 165). This occurs in all cancer cases although cancer detection primarily depends on the infected part of the body. Cancer is also known to mutate other infections. Many are the times that cancerous tumors have developed from other infections whose symptoms had been assumed to be due.
However, in breast cancer, detection of suspicious symptoms in most cases helps determine when one has the disease or not. There are a few symptoms or signs that can alert any woman or man to go for a checkup of the disease. Distinguishable lumps on the breast tissue in most cases are the main symptoms that give away breast cancer (Anderson, 76). In most cases, a single lump appears, but there are other scenarios where a few lumps have been reported to occur on a subject’s breast. Other than lumps on breasts, other early signs of breast cancer include; bloody or clear fluids oozing from the nipples, sometimes the texture or the color of the breast changes, some dimples appearing on the breast, and also sometimes inverting of the nipple.
Breast cancer is hard to detect before a woman feels a lump on the breast. Statistics have put discovered breast cancer case at more than 80%. Other cases of breast cancer have been discovered through the X-ray process of mammography, and the study of lymph nodes found in the armpits (Taghian, Alphonse & Michele, 167). There are many infections of the breast related to cancerous cells that many people tend to confuse with other simple infections (Fulekar, 94). A good example in this case is the inflammation of the breast. Medical practitioners in this field have rated inflammation of the breast as a complex breast cancer, which is hard to diagnose (Anderson, 59). Inflammation of the breast in most cases manifests itself in a couple of symptoms that makes it hard to detect the presence of cancer. Almost all of the symptoms that determine the presence of cancerous cells are present in this infection apart from the absence of the lump, hence hard to diagnose (Saunders, Christobel & Sunil, 38). The other symptoms include; inversion of the nipple, redness and unexplained redness throughout the breast, swelling, itching, appearance of an orange textured peeling, and general pain.
Other than inflammation of the breast, there is another syndrome that manifests itself in breast cancer. Medical practitioners refer to it as the Paget’s disease of the breast. This syndrome has almost similar symptoms to the inflammation of the breast, but lump presence is common (Saunders, Christobel & Sunil, 172). Other than the presence of lumps, there are other symptoms, which include; increased sensitivity of the breast, itching, burning sensation on the breast, tingling and general pain. Some subjects may also experience a bloody, or a clear discharge from the nipple. These are the most common and complex infections that manifests themselves in form or breast cancer. However, there are other infections of the breast that many people tend to confuse with breast cancer (Anderson, 128). For example, there are benign breast diseases that cause lumps are not necessarily cancerous. Examples include; fibroadenoma and mastitis. These diseases are caused by other breast disorders other than breast cancer itself (Fulekar, 214).
However, medical practitioners and patients experiencing any forms of disorder on/in the breasts are advised to be extremely cautious when diagnosing infections of the breasts. This is because some of infections of the breast that are accorded normal treatment whereas they are underlying cases of cancer (Anderson, 69). Other cases are given cancerous infections attention when they are not associated. In short, cancer has many symptoms that can be related to other common infections of the breast. However, these symptoms do not necessary mean that one has cancer. Otherwise, there are symptoms that should be given keen attention even when there are no lumps involved. These may include; one breast enlarging or lowering than the other one, irregular thickening of the breast, the nipple becomes inverted, sunken or tends to shift position. In some cases nipples also experiences leakages of blooded or clear liquids (Taghian, Alphonse & Michele, 37). Other than these symptoms that manifest themselves on the nipple, there are those that manifests themselves on the whole breast. That is in the form of rashes, pimples, peelings, swellings and pain around the armpits region.
Before the 19th century when the world experienced massive developments in technology, there was a belief that there was no treatment for breast cancer or any other form of cancer for that matter (Fulekah, 162). However, in the recent past we have had many individuals being cured of breast cancerous cells. The most common and effective means of controlling breast cancer is through surgery, followed by chemotherapy sessions and the radiation (Fulekar, 203). There are other minor cases where chemotherapy and radiation have been recommended in controlling development of cancerous cells. When administering surgery to control breast cancer, the stage of the disease determines on the management procedure administered (Anderson, 28). In surgery, there are three surgical procedures that can be carried out. They are; Lumpectomy, Quadrantectomy and Mastectomy.
Lumpectomy involves removing part of the breast that had been infected by the cancerous cells. This procedure only involves a small part of the breast being removed. In quadrantectomy, a larger part of the breast is involved. This usually involves a quarter to a half of the breast being removed. In Mastectomy, the whole breast is usually cut off to control the cells, and such radical decisions are only made if the disease is at its mass stages ruling out any other possibilities (Saunders, Christobel & Sunil, 87). After surgery, patients are then put under drugs treatment sessions called adjuvant therapy. These medicinal procedures involve three groups. These are namely; chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies, and hormone blocking therapy (Fulekh, 77).
Hormone blocking therapy is recommended for some types of breast cancers, which require hormones like estrogen and progesterone for growth (Taghian, Alponse & Michele, 192). This procedure makes sure that there is no favorable environment for cancerous cells to grow. Chemotherapy involves administering of drugs that discourages, or kills any cancerous cells that may replicate, or develop fast in a person’s body after surgery. Extreme caution is advised in chemotherapy as these drugs may find their way into other parts of the human body like the heart killing other important cells. Monoclonal antibodies are almost exactly opposites of the drugs used in chemotherapy. Chemotherapy makes sure that any cancerous cells, which may have remained during surgery, are killed while these antibodies makes sure that normal body cells grow in their place to keep normal body cells count at check (Anderson, 96). After successful chemotherapy, patients are then taken through a radiotherapy procedure than ensures that any cancerous cells that may have remained are killed.
Breast cancer is a very serious disease. Statistics put the number of women who succumbed to cancer in 2008 at more than 458, 000 people in the world (Taghian, Alphonse & Michele, 128). This was an eye opener that made people become more aggressive in campaigns against breast cancer. Men have also long joined the campaigns as they are no longer as safe they thought they were decades ago. These campaigns are being spearheaded by different organizations across the world. These organizations have continued to provide information on how to detect breast cancer even in the most remote areas of the world (Taghian, Alphonse & Michele, 99). Breast cancer awareness has helped many people to detect cancerous cells when they are still in formation. This is before they can lead to more serious curative methods like mastectomy. There have been great developments in the fight against all cancer cases be it brain or breast cancer in the world. This has been made possible by the invention of nanoshells by Naomi Halas in the year 2003 ( Fulekah, 14). Discovery of nanoshells led to nanotechnology, a technology the world believes that it holds the key to the cure of disease like cancer among others that manifests themselves in cells propagation (Fulekh, 17). This is because nanoshells have proven to control death of cells.
In conclusion, women have come a long way with breast cancer. This is from the ancient times when many communities believe it was either a divine punishment, or an incurable disease meant for torturing women. However, this is not the case nowadays as there are efficient methods of managing the disease. There is also hope that proper a cure, more efficient than surgery will be engineered soon.
Anderson, Greg. Breast Cancer: 50 Essential Things You Can Do. San Francisco, CA: Conari Press, 2011. Internet resource.
Fulekar, M H. Nanotechnology: Importance and Applications. New Delhi: I.K. International Pub. House, 2010. Print.
Saunders, Christobel, and Sunil Jassal. Breast Cancer: The Facts. Oxford: OUP Oxford, 2009. Internet resource.
Taghian, Alphonse G, and Michele Y. Halyard. Breast Cancer. New York: Demos Medical Pub, 2012. Print.