Thesis: Breast cancer, however, remains one of the major concerns in the medical field, mainly because it has many forms and happens to strike a large number of women. I-Cancer as the disease of the twentieth century
A-Definition of cancer
B-Statistics on cancer victims
II-The nature of breast cancer
A-Breast cancer as a leading cause of death among women
B-Types of breast cancer
1-In situ cancers
III-Causes of breast cancer
A-The heredity factor
B-Menstruation and age
C-The diet relationship
IV-Treatment of breast cancer
A-Detection of the cancer
C-Coping with consequences of surgery
The twentieth century has often been called as the cancer century. This is because more than a hundred types of cancer have been discovered in this century, and secondly, because enormous medical efforts were made to fight all kinds of cancers all over the world. In the early decades of the century, cancer was considered to be a fatal disease, and although many cancers remain fatal, medical therapy has developed significantly over the years such that most cancers can be treated and cured. After decades of struggling with various cancers, doctors are now becoming more aware of the causes of these diseases, how they can be treated, and what can be done to prevent them. Breast cancer, however, remains one of the major concerns in the medical field, mainly because it has many forms and happens to strike a large number of women. By definition, a cancer is a disease that is characterized by “controlled growth and spread of abnormal cells” (Laino, online). When such a growth takes place, the cancer cells form a tumor from which cells will invade the neighboring tissues and organs. Some of these cells may even travel through the blood or other means to attack other organs and tissues in the body (Laino, online). Different cancers have claimed several million lives over the years. In the 1980s, more than 4.5 million people died in the US alone. In the past few years, nine million people developed cancers and today, there are more than 12 million people in the United States receiving cancer treatment. More than half a million people die of cancer every year, that is, at the rate of 1,500 patients every day. Cancers claim about 20% of all deaths in the US every year (Laino, online). Of all cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, although it exists in men in rare cases. In the United States, 10% of all women have breast cancer, and according to the estimates of 1990, 44,000 American women have died because of breast cancer (Cook & Dresser 149-150). Although women suffer a high risk of contracting breast cancer, the possibility of developing this disease, however, is hardly more than 1% for any woman at any given time (Cook & Dresser 150). Doctors have identified several kinds of breast cancers. This is not to mention the many cases in which a tumor in the breast is nothing more than a cyst or a harmless benign lump (ACS, online). The majority of breast cancers, almost 95% are cancer tumors that develop in the milk ducts. Those cancers which remain inside the duct without spreading out are known as in situ cancers. On the other hand, if the cancer cells spread out and invade other areas, they are known as invasive cancers. The other types of breast cancer, almost 5%, are known as lobular breast cancers because they develop in the breast lobes. A very rare type of cancer occurring in only 1% of all cases is known as inflammatory breast cancer. In inflammatory cases, the cancer cells spread very fast and invade other cells, but it can be identified very easily because it blocks the lymph vessels and the channels in the skin, turning the breast into a hard and warm surface with a clear red color (ACS, online). Breast cancers can be caused by a variety of factors. Until today, many...
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“Breast Cancer.” ACS: American Cancer Society, online, March 7, 1999.
Cook, Alan & Dresser, Peter. Cancer Sourcebook for Women. Detroit:
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Laino, Charlene. “Answers to your cancer FAQs,” MSNBC online, April 3,
Maatouk, Mustafa. Personal Interview, April 9, 1999 .
Runowicz, Carolyn & Haupt, Donna. To Be Alive. New York: Henry Holt &
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