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Running head: BREAST CANCER 1 Breast Cancer Ashley Heck North Hennepin Community College Nurs 2800
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BREAST CANCER 2 Breast Cancer Pathophysiological Processes What is cancer? Cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control and take over the normal cells. These abnormal cells can grow into clumps known as tumors and can be non-cancerous, benign, or cancerous, malignant. When this occurs, and the tumor is malignant, within one or both breasts it is known as breast cancer. Breast cancer mostly affects women, but can occur in men as well (American Cancer Society, 2017). Where does breast cancer start? There a few different places that breast cancer can start. Most cancers are a ductal cancer when the cancer starts in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple. Lobular cancers are less common and start in the glands that produce milk. A small number of cancers within the breast are sarcomas and lymphomas, but aren’t really thought of as breast cancers (American Cancer Society, 2017). How does breast cancer start? Cancer is created by mutations or changes in a person’s DNA. These mutations can be inherited from a parent or acquired throughout a person’s lifetime. If the mutations are inherited a person’s risk for developing cancer is much greater. However, most breast cancers are developed by acquired mutations specifically in the breast cells (American Cancer Society, 2017). Most breast cancers start with a lump within one of the breasts, but not all do, so any signs or symptoms should be reported to a physician immediately. In addition to watching for signs and symptoms, all women over the age of forty should get yearly mammograms and perform self-breast exams monthly. According to the American Cancer Society (2017), signs and symptoms of breast cancer are as follows: “ swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt) ; skin irritation or dimpling
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BREAST CANCER 3 (sometimes looking like an orange peel) ; b reast or nipple pain ; nipple retraction (turning inward) ; redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin ; and nipple discharge (other than breast milk)”. Disease Process Across the Lifespan Breast cancer caused by acquired mutations develops over the course of a life until it is diagnosed and treated. A person born with an inherited breast cancer gene and a normal gene is known as a “BRCA mutation carrier”. This person does have a small chance of not developing breast cancer, but the risk is much higher. When genes replicate they can either replicate exactly or replicate with a mutation. If the normal gene a person is born with replicates into the gene with the mutation, the person will develop breast cancer (BC Cancer Agency, 2004). Most women are diagnosed after the age of forty. There are some cases where a woman is diagnosed in their twenties or thirties. The youngest age to date is eight years old. This little girl was diagnosed with an extremely rare type of breast cancer, secretory carcinoma, it is only diagnosed in 1 in 1,000,000 adults, so it’s even more rare in an eight-year-old girl (Bushak, 2015). According to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer
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