Sample Scholarship Essays

Breast Cancer

.. Cleveland added green tea to cultured cells of human lymphoma, prostate, breast and skin cancers. Amazingly, the tea killed every cancer cell, but did not harm a single normal functioning cell. Gianluca Lazzaro at the University of Illinois made a synthetic form of vitamin D5 that killed cancer cells in a lab culture. The University of Western Ontario found limonoids more effective than flavanoids in halting growth of cancer cells.

Limonoids, true to the name, are responsible for the bitterness of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit. Walt Willet of the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study of 89,538 nurses between the ages of 3459. He found for those that consume hard liquor, beer or wine experience 1.3 times the relative risk of breast cancer. Those who had more than nine drinks a week had an increase of two and a half times the rate of breast cancer for a nondrinking person. In 1987, the National Cancer Institute published a report comparing 1524 women with breast cancer against a control group of 1896 without the disease.

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Again, alcohol proved to promote breast cancer. Several medical procedures or side effects of them have been thought to promote breast cancer. It was hypothesized by staff at the NEJM that selfinduced abortions could greatly increase the chances of getting cancer as during pregnancy the cells in the breast quickly divide and reproduce. By having an abortion and thus suddenly halting cell division, a number of cells would become greatly unprotected by their not being any differentiation, and thus would be vulnerable to cancer. To test this hypothesis, the NEJM studied a cohort of 1.5 million women with an identified 370,715it was concluded that abortions were not contributing to breast cancer.

In another report done by the NEJM, breast implants were analyzed as a possible risk factor for breast cancer. After many experiments, the NEJM concluded that the incidence of breast cancer among women who had breast augmentation could not be said to be higher or lower than the rate amongst the general population. Radiation has also been thought of, and for all intensive purposes in my opinion proven to be a cause of breast cancer. There have been three major studies that have been done concerning radiation. The first was constructed around the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It was quickly ascertained that within a ten mile radius of the bombing there was a definite cancer zone. More importantly, younger people got much more cancer than did older ones, especially with regards to breast cancer. This forces more weight on the theory that the changing years of the breasts in women are their most vulnerable and possibly cancer causing ones. The second story is a Canadian study that had looked at women who had been treated for TB in the twenties and thirties with radiation. They, too, were found to have the greatest risk for breast defects and developments of cancer.

The third study involves 606 women in Rochester, New York who had inflamed breasts and were treated with 50 to 450 rads for both breasts to alleviate pain. Over half developed cancer. Prevention is one point of the puzzle to cure breast cancer, but it is extremely important to get breast examinations often to make sure of no lumps or early tumors. The simplest forms of breast exam is a selfexam, one with a doctor, or a mammography. A mammogram is simply an Xray of the breast. Mammography can pick up small legions of under one half a centimeter, whereas one can not feel a lump until it is a full centimeter in diameter.

But, if breasts are small or dense, a mammogram might not pick it up. Another procedure could be a wire localization. A thin wire is used to show where the legion is after the wire is inserted, and local anesthetic is administered. Thermography is based on the idea that cancer gives off more heat than regular cells. Transillumination is founded in the concept that light shines through breast tissue, but us blocked by lumps. An ultrasound is when high frequency sound waves are sent off in a radar fashion, and reflect off objects that they hit. A CAT scan is the process of visually cutting the body into crosssections.

But, another controversy runs deep in the issue of using CAT scans to find cancer tissue. The radiation required to examine a five milliliter lump is often considered simply too high for safety, and has a possibility of just simply spreading the cancer to other body parts. A MRI takes advantage of the electromagnetic qualities of the hydrogen nucleus to produce an electric chart or visual. While the most common form of breast exam is mammography, there are many critics of that procedure. Printed in CAA Cancer Journal for Clinicians, scientists claim that, ‘mammograms missed 10% of cancers in women younger than 50, and 5% in women older than 50.’ Cancer patients have said that the mammogram is often uncomfortable and takes too much time. But, one of the largest studies in this subject in medical history disagrees.

In a cancer study conducted by the American Cancer Society due to be released to the public in June, the organization does a twenty year follow up on an experiment started in the early 70’s. Based on a 96% follow up from 1993 to 1995, 4051 women had breast cancer. Out of those cancer patients, 2658 were alive (66%), and 1393 (34%) were dead. At the end of the twenty year period, those who were forced into examination were 20 times less likely to get cancer. One startling conclusion enforces a hypothesis dating back to the days of Darwin. Younger women are at increased risk for biologically more aggressive carcinoma, meaning that the future battle for curing cancer is not getting any easier.which cancer growths are dependant upon the growth of blood vessels to nurture the cancer cells.

New drugs are being developed to stop the growth of cancer cells by preventing nourishment of the cancers by new blood vessels. By cutting off the blood supply to the cells, they die, and thus are eliminated from the system. There are various treatments aimed at killing the cancerous cells from surgically removing that area of the body to killing it off by use of chemicals. A very common operation is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a drug designed to kill rapidly dividing cells.

Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies that can be engineered to carry drugs or radiation directly to the tumor, and is an efficient way of delivering chemotherapy to the body. Another adaptation that has been added to chemotherapy is the use of genes that are chemoresistant. Doctors at the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center use these special genes to stimulate the regular body tissue to live through high doses of chemotherapy, and therefore, the disease can be cured a lot more quickly. One treatment involves stem cell transplantation. Stem cells are often referred to as master cells, and they seem to carry a proliferation of antibodies which fight malignancies, and may be able to fight cancer.

One solution to cancer may be hormone therapy. The hormone, usually tamoxifen, slows growth of cancer cells by blocking some growth enhancing properties of estrogen. ‘Tamoxifen is the most commonly used breast cancer drug in the world. It works, works well, and does it with relatively few side effects,’ said Dr. Wickerman of a Dallas clinic.

The controversy over Tamoxifen is that it might cause other types of cancer. In 1981, the National Cancer Institute ran a test in which women took a placebo or Tamoxifen. Women with the drug were less likely to develop cancer of the breast, but they were more likely to develop blood clots, ovarian cancer, or breast cancer. Chemotherapy involving tamoxifen has proved useful in delaying breast recurrence, but the majority of patients treated with Tamoxifen eventually go into relapse. There are several physical operations.

Traditionally, there are three types of cancer treatments: radiation, mastectomy, cytotoxic chemotherapy. The type of surgery really has its basis on the size of the tumor. A lumpectomy removes the tumor and surrounding tissues. A simple mastectomy removes the breast, nearby lymph nodes, and portions of the chest and arms. Doctors can perform preventative mastectomies.

Some surgeons feel that if the breast is fairly lumpy, and the patient appears to be in very high risk of breast cancer, the surgery may be beneficial. The whole surgery is highly controversial. A total bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction is preferred. This removal takes out all of the breast including the nipple and duct system so that there can be little chance of relapse. One complication that can result in cancer is Ductal Carcinoma insitu.

This area houses the lobules and ducts and is the area in which milk is produced. Similar to rust clogging up pipes, often extra cells or cancerous cells will clog up the tubes providing for some discomfort and other risks. Studies show that 2025% of women with untreated DCIS will get invasive cancer within 10 years. Also dealing with the lactating in women is breast cancer during pregnancy. Breast cancer during pregnancy is usually not harmful except for minor complications.

Breast cancer during that period could also be hard to detect because of the rapidly expanding breasts, and other new growth. On a final note, men can also get breast cancer, but it is often more evident as there tends to be less flesh in a man’s chest than in a female’s. How can you get involved? All contributions of time, money, or services to any of the national cancer organizations would help the cause greatly. One minor way to show support is buy buying a new type of stamp possibly in the workscent per stamp that would go in the support of breast cancer. Until individuals commit themselves to a healthy diet, watch for signs of cancer, or even volunteer time, we will always have the problem. While there are many factors from weight to factors that one can’t even control, taking a look at the whole picture and evaluating your opinions into your own choice, and consulting other references will end in the best decision for yourself.

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer:
Risk Factors, Detection & Treatment
Among all American women who die when they are between the ages of forty and forty-five, the cause of death most likely to be listed on their death certificates is BREAST CANCER. Breast tumors are responsible for the greatest number of deaths among women, and breast cancer alone is the cause of almost one fifth of all cancer related mortalities. It results in the death of thirty seven thousand American women every year. Currently, there is no concrete answer as to how breast cancer is caused nor is their a cure for the disease. “Research over the past fifty years has narrowed the causes down to certain risk factors that are common amongst breast cancer patients. The disease can be detected somewhat early if one attends examinations. As for treatment, several methods have come into use, neither of them one hundred percent effective.” (Seltzer, 23)
“The risk factors for breast cancer have been evaluated solely by researching the medical histories of those with the disease.” (Seltzer, 27) They have been assigned a specific order which ranges from greatest risk to the least amount of risk. The risk factors are having a family history of the disease, never bearing children, having a child after the age of thirty, having had a late menopause, age, obesity, and being a Caucasian. These risk factors are not however, totally conclusive. My mother, also being a victim of breast cancer had none of the above listed risk factors, but still developed the sickness. “Even if none of the risk factors applies to you, you must still be wary and attend regular examinations, because every woman is at risk.” (Subak-Sharpe, 42)
Early detection of breast cancer is the key to surviving the illness. Once the tumor has grown too much, it is often too late. “Large tumors interact with lymph nodes which interconnect with the breast, facilitating the spreading of the disease, which in almost all cases, leads to certain death.” (Link, 144) There are essentially two methods of detection with breast cancer. They are self examinations as well as Mammography’s. Self examinations are essentially done by women on themselves, feeling the breast while searching for a lump or abnormalities. It is recommended by the American Cancer Association that a self exam be done every month by all women over the age of twenty. “The self exam causes absolutely no discomfort and should be performed regularly by women due to ease of doing so.” (Seltzer, 87) The second form detection of breast cancer is the mammography. The mammography is quite a process because it involves several steps. The first step is the taking of several X-rays of each breast to search for abnormalities. The second step is the doing an extensive examination of the patients medical history. The patient is then sat down and counseled by the person performing the exam, usually a radiologist. The only discomfort experienced during a mammography is when the breast is compressed to facilitate better viewing of the tissue by the X-ray machine. “Due to the time and effort as well as the radiation absorbed during the mammography, it is only recommended that they be taken every 3 years after the age of twenty, and annually if over the age of forty.” (Seltzer, 133) “Even though both self exams and the use of a mammography is proven to greatly reduce the mortality rate with breast cancer, only a small portion of the women in America partake of it.” (Subak-Sharpe, 125) Most women don’t because they either fear the pain of discovering the disease, fear the mutilation of their breasts that could follow, or fear losing a breast itself. Despite their life saving characteristics, women insist on saying things such as “Why go looking for trouble?” In the end, they might only be facing death.
Treatment methods for breast cancer have progressed greatly over the years. “Back in the late sixties and early seventies, the only treatment for tumors found in the breast we called radical mastectomy’s, which means removal of the breast as well as the surrounding pectoral muscle group.”(Link, 99) Although it was an effective means to stop breast cancer, it caused detrimental scars to most women’s emotional health. It wasn’t until decades later when the use of the mastectomy was challenged. In fact, it is no longer the preferred method of treatment, but used only as a last resort. New treatments such as Radiation treatments as well as chemotherapy have come into existence and are making headway in the fight against breast cancer. Radiation therapy involves physically trying to shrink or destroy the tumor not with invasive surgery, but by directing lethal radiation to the exact location of the tumor. The treatment usually lasts about two minutes. “Even though some patients illnesses prove resistant, the treatment is forty percent effective.”(Link, 110) Side effects with Radiation therapy are rare but include rib fracture, radiation induced Pneumonia, and Pericardial effusion(fluid around the heart). These side effects are due to the radiations proximity with the lungs, ribs and heart. The alternative to Radiation therapy is Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy involves using drugs in the fight against malignant, or deadly tumors. Pharmaceuticals such as Antimetabolites, Alkalating agents, and Antibiotics. These drugs are basically designed to flow through the body’s circulatory system, and then search for and destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy has about the same success rate as radiation therapy.
In conclusion, breast cancer is one of the most deadly cancers known to women around the world. Risk factors show who may be prone to developing the sickness, and as time goes by, more detection and treatment methods are developed. Hopefully one day, a cure can be found to eradicate this, and all cancers, but until that day, women will still have to deal with the detection, and treatment of breast cancer.

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