Breast Cancer Is a Disease Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Partial Mastectomy- a procedure that remove part of the breast that contains the cancer and some tissue around the affected tissue. This type of surgery is also called a segmental mastectomy (Breast Cancer Treatment).

In addition the National Cancer Institute reports that patients who undergo the aforementioned types of surgeries may also have some lymph nodes removed (Breast Cancer Treatment).

Another type of surgery that does not conserve the breast is the total mastectomy. During this type of surgery the entire cancerous breast is removed (Breast Cancer Treatment). This type of surgery is also referred to as a simple mastectomy. As an aspect of this surgery lymph nodes, the lining of the chest muscles and the chest wall muscles may also be removed (Breast Cancer Treatment). A patient may also undergo a radical mastectomy which involves the removal of the cancerous breast along with the muscles underneath the breast and lymph nodes (Breast Cancer Treatment).

After the surgery is completed many patients undergo chemotherapy or radiation or both. Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to prevent the development of cancer cells. The drugs work by preventing the division of the cancer cells or killing the cells altogether (Breast Cancer Treatment). Chemotherapy drugs can be taken orally or through an injection into a muscle or vein. The national Cancer Institute explains that "the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated (Breast Cancer Treatment)."

Radiation treatment for breast cancer involves the utilization of uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells or prevent the cells from developing further (Breast Cancer Treatment). The National cancer Institute explains that there are two primary types of radiation treatment. The first is external radiation in which an external machine is used to deliver the radiation to the area of the body where the cancer resides (Breast Cancer Treatment). The other type of radiation treatment is internal and it utilizes a radioactive substance that can be contained within a seed, needle or catheter (Breast Cancer Treatment). The internal treatment is then positioned directly into the cancer. The type of radiation that the patient receives is dependent upon the severity and type of cancer (Breast Cancer Treatment).

In addition to the aforementioned methods of treating breast cancer, the disease can also be treated with hormone therapy (Breast Cancer Treatment). The National Cancer Institute explains that this type of therapy is designed to eliminate or block certain hormones that are associated with the growth of cancer cells (Breast Cancer Treatment). The National Cancer Institute explains that

"Hormones are substances produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream. Some hormones can cause certain cancers to grow. If tests show that the cancer cells have places where hormones can attach (receptors), drugs, surgery, or radiation therapy is used to reduce the production of hormones or block them from working. The hormone estrogen, which makes some breast cancers grow, is made mainly by the ovaries. Treatment to stop the ovaries from making estrogen is called ovarian ablation (Breast Cancer Treatment)."

One of the primary ways to perform hormone therapy is with tamoxifen (Breast Cancer Treatment). This particular treatment is popular with people that have early stage breast cancer in addition to those that are suffering from breast cancers that have spread to other organs in the body (Breast Cancer Treatment). Tamoxifen works by destroying cells throughout the body. Although this type of therapy can be beneficial it can also increase the probability the patient will get endometrial cancer (Breast Cancer Treatment). As such when this particular treatment is sued yearly pelvic exams are required (Breast Cancer Treatment).

Another common hormone treatment is an aromatase inhibiter. This type of treatment is typically given to women who have already experienced menopause and have a type of cancer that is hormone dependent. This type of cancer must have estrogen to promote growth (Breast Cancer Treatment). This type of inhibitor is designed to decrease the amount of estrogen that the body produces by preventing aromatase from converting androgen into estrogen (Breast Cancer Treatment). The National cancer Institute father explains that breast cancer that is in an early stage can also be treated with aromatase inhibitors instead of tamoxifen (Breast Cancer Treatment).

The type of therapy that a person chooses will depend on the stage of the cancer and the recommendations of doctors. In many cases the patient must have a combination of treatments to prevent the cancer from growing or returning. In addition to the aforementioned therapies many cancer patients have changed their diets and have a more holistic lifestyle. This approach is used in tangent with the other treatments to promote good health.

Detection and support programs

At the national, state and local level there are many prevention and support programs that are designed to decrease the number of people that get breast cancer each year. These programs are also designed to promote early diagnosis of breast cancer. Early diagnosis is important because breast cancer can be a treatable disease in most cases when it is detected early. In addition support is also available for people suffering from cancer and their families. Such support is needed and necessary because [people suffering from the disease and their families often need support as they go through the process of treatment. Such programs can be quite effect in preventing breast cancer altogether and increasing survival rates through early detection. The next few sections of this discussion will focus on the specific programs that are available at the national state and local levels.


There are several national organizations that are designed to bring awareness to the issue of breast cancer. One such organization is the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The mission of the foundation is the is to decrease the number of people dying from breast cancer by providing education and access to mammograms. In addition works to fulfill the mission through different initiative including Breast Cancer awareness month which takes place in the month of October. The foundation has also recruited many well-known people to assist in accomplishing the mission. The foundation also serves the purpose of providing a discussion board on the internet where people around the country and throughout the world can congregate and share their experiences and receive advice from individuals that are experiencing the same situation. This type of support is critical as people attempt to battle breast cancer. The foundation also has been active in raising funds to find a cure for breast cancer.


To address the issue of breast cancer the state of Illinois has a Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. This program is designed to educate citizens about these two diseases, to provide the opportunity to get the appropriate testing, and to offer support to people that are diagnosed with one of these diseases. More specifically the program "offers free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests to eligible women. In 2006, Governor expanded the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. Now, more women than ever before can take advantage of the free screenings and treatment. Even if a woman has already been diagnosed with cancer, she may receive free treatment if she qualifies. Since the program was launched in Illinois in 1995, over 66,000 women have been screened for breast and cervical cancers.


The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program is present at the local level throughout the state of Illinois. In Madison citizens of the county can find out more about the program through the department of health. Additionally the program has eligibility requirements. For instance, to qualify for free breast cancer screening the individual can not have health insurance, they must be a citizen of Madison county and they must meet the age requirements (40 to 64 for mammograms).

In addition to the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, Madison County also sponsors that Illinois WiseWoman Program. Women who join the Wisewoman Program must already be members of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. The focus of the WiseWoman Program is to provide "eligible women with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to improve diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle behaviors to prevent, delay, and control cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Blood pressure, height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) are evaluated as well as blood lipid and glucose levels. In addition to screenings, women can choose to increase their knowledge by attending four, fun dietary and physical activity sessions designed to empower women to make lifestyle changes to improve their health ("Madison County Health Department")."

Benefits associated…

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