Breast Cancer Paper

Breast Cancer Paper

The rate at which cancer is increasing is reaching alarming rates. Everyday somebody is diagnosed with cancer. According to Rheinbay et al. (2017), the analysis of different tumor cells has made it possible for several cancer genes to be identified. Mutations in regions where proteins code is the reason for this discovery. However, in regions where no coding occurs, very little is known. All body systems are susceptible to cancer. The increased state of pollution in the world today has increased the susceptibility of humans to cancer. Use of chemicals to grow food, in food and as food has made the cancer susceptibility to go even higher (Rheinbay et al., 2017). The number of cancer patients seems to be on the rise, despite the availability of preventive services.

Breast cancer is one of the many cancers that females are battling today. It is the most common cancer affecting women in the United States. In the article by DeSantias et al. (2016), breast cancer accounts for one of every three cancers. According to WHO, breast cancer affects women in developed and developing countries at similar rates. Urbanization increasing rates of life expectancy and adopting western culture has made the rates of breast cancer in developing countries to increase. The high incidences of breast cancer observed is usually due to the late diagnosis that occurs, when the cancer has already metastasized (DeSantias et al., 2016). Today, breast cancer not only affects women, but it has been diagnosed in the male population too.

Available Preventive Services

Prevention begins with self. Several factors can lead one to develop cancer. The predisposing factors to breast cancer include weight, physical activity, alcohol, food, early exposure to radiation, genetics and socioeconomic factors (Greenlee et al., 2017). Women need to take it upon themselves to care for themselves and maintain behaviors and practices that do not predispose them to cancer.

Lifestyle modification is the cheapest and most available way of preventing breast cancer. Research has shown that overweight and obese people have an increased risk of developing cancer. This is especially so for postmenopausal women. Cancer is also likely to recur after treatment in obese postmenopausal women. The lack of physical activity increases the accumulation of toxins in the body which predisposes one to cancer. High alcohol intake also plays a role in the development of cancer (Greenlee et al., 2017). Changing these lifestyle practices can help reduce the risk of getting breast cancer.

There has been the development of drugs to prevent breast cancer. Taking of such medication is considered chemoprevention. Such people use medication that blocks certain types of hormones to prevent breast cancer. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves tamoxifen and raloxifene as chemopreventive drugs for breast cancer. They act as selective estrogen receptor modulators. Tamoxifen is for postmenopausal women while raloxifene is for all women. Other chemopreventive agents are aromatase inhibitors. They act by inhibiting estrogen production from all other areas except the ovaries (Miller et al., 2016). They are indicated for postmenopausal women who do not have cancer.

Surgery is also a preventive option for breast cancer. This applies to women who have BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. The prophylactic mastectomy is meant to reduce the risk of breast cancer in such clients. Research has shown a reduction of at least 95 percent (Greenlee et al., 2017). With such statistics, it is evident that breast cancer can be prevented.

The Decision to Take Preventive Services

Factors such as the cost of the services and willingness to comply affect the decision to take preventive services. Lifestyle changes may incur a cost for some clients, others may be just resistant to change. The cost of the preventive medication may be too high for some people to afford. The choice to undergo preventive surgery is a hard one to make. Many women would rather have their breasts despite the risk than have them removed (Greenlee et al., 2017). Self-esteem issues arise due to having or not having breasts.

Drug Treatment and Implications

Several drugs have been approved to treat breast cancer. Such drugs are known as chemotherapeutic agents. Such agents act on dividing cells at different stages to stop cell division and ultimately cell death. Examples of chemotherapeutic agents approved for use in breast cancer treatment include docetaxel and capecitabine. Docetaxel is a plant alkaloid. It is an antimicrotubule agent. It works by inhibiting the microtubules within cells. The inhibition of these microtubules prevent cell division and thus lead to cell death. Capecitabine is an anti-metabolite. Anti-metabolites are specific in the cycle of the cell which they attack (Miller et al., 2016). They prevent cell division thus destroying cancerous cells.

Short term side effects of chemotherapeutic agents used to treat breast cancer include mouth sores, nausea and vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, nerve damage, cognitive function problems affecting memory, fatigue, loss of appetite, reduced white blood cells count and hair loss (Miller et al., 2016). These side effects are easily manageable. Some of them disappear over time.

Infertility is the most common long term side effect. It comes with menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness. This is because of the mode of action of the drugs to destroy the cancerous tumors. Another effect is heart damage. Chemotherapeutic agents affect heart muscles making them weak. Osteopenia and osteoporosis are long term effects that may occur due to chemotherapy-induced menopause (Miller et al., 2016).


Breast cancer has been on the rise among women. However, men are also affected by breast cancer. Early detection can lead to treatment that prolongs life. Despite this, prevention has always been better than cure. Lifestyle modification is the best way to maintain optimum good health. A family history of cancer predisposes the next generations to come. Such individuals will benefit from preventive practices and services since they are highest at risk of developing cancer. Those with breast cancer and on chemotherapeutic agents need to take precautions not to worsen their conditions. The affordability of both preventive and curative services affect cancer statistics in the world (Senkus et al., 2015). Women should perform self-exams and go for mammography tests for early detection of cancer.



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Rheinbay, E., Parasuraman, P., Grimsby, J., Tiao, G., Engreitz, J. M., Kim, J., … & Hess, J. (2017). Recurrent and functional regulatory mutations in breast cancer. Nature547(7661), 55.

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