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Breast Cancer

Jiaqi Lin


Breast cancer is a very common disease that affects millions, not only women but also men, worldwide. It is a type of cancer that develops in the breast tissue and can spread to other body parts. There are five stages of breast cancer, arranged from stages 0 to 4. The stage of the disorder is mainly determined by the spread of the tumor. The last stage, also known as metastatic breast cancer, is when the tumor already spreads beyond the tissue to the nearby tissues. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, and early detection is critical to improving survival rates.

Although most cases are acquired, which means that it developed during life instead of inheritance, there are two genes that can be mutated and increase the risk of getting breast cancer: BRCA1 and BRCA2. These two genes are autosomal dominant tumor suppressor genes; they help suppress the growth of tumors by repairing damaged DNA and regulating cell division. But once they mutate, they can no longer resist the abnormal growth of cells. The mutations on these genes can lead to around a 20% increase in the probability of developing the disorder. Besides these genes, mutations in PALB2, PTEN, TP53, ATM, CDH1, etc can also lead to an increase in the likelihood of getting breast cancer. There are also some external factors that can lead to the disorder:smoking,alcohol consumption, exposure to toxins, poor diet, obesity, hormonal medication, and lack of exercise.


The symptoms of breast cancer can vary from person to person. The most common symptom is a lump or thickening in the breast tissue. Other symptoms include changes in the size or shape of the breast, changes in the skin texture, nipple discharge, and pain or discomfort in the breast or nipple. Besides these phenotypic effects, mutations in BRCA genes can make cells more likely to change and divide rapidly. It will also reduce the protein’s ability to repair DNA.




The treatment of breast cancer depends on several factors, including the stage of the cancer, the size and location of the tumor, and the patient's overall health. The most common treatments for breast cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be recommended. Besides these therapies, there are also some procedures one can take to help breast cancer; this includes lumpectomy and mastectomy. Lumpectomy involves the removal of the tumor mass and surrounding tissues while mastectomy removes the whole breast tissue from the patients. There are also some medications that one can take, such as Fluorouracil, Tamoxifen, and Pembrolizumab to help with DNA synthesis, block estrogen, and activate the immune system. One can also use nutrition to help with the disease. Foods that are rich in fiber, anti-inflammatory properties, and vitamin D are all recommended for breast cancer patients.


Breast cancer is a serious disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Early detection and treatment are critical to improving survival rates. People should be aware of the risk factors, symptoms, and screening methods for breast cancer and seek medical attention if they notice any unusual changes in their breast tissue. By taking steps to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer, people can help protect their health and well-being.


Work Cited

Lei, Shaoyuan, et al. “Global Patterns of Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality: A Population-Based Cancer Registry Data Analysis from 2000 to 2020.” Cancer Communications (London, England), U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8626596/.

U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations Tool, based on 2021 submission data (1999-2019): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Cancer Institute; https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dataviz, released in November 2022.

Conner, Kristine. “Myths and Misconceptions About Metastatic Breast Cancer.” Myths and Misconceptions about Metastatic Breast Cancer, BREASTCANCER.ORG, 11 Nov. 2022, https://www.breastcancer.org/types/metastatic/myths.

“What Causes Breast Cancer?” American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society, 19 Nov. 2021, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/how-does-breast-cancer-form.html.

Kuchenbaecker, Karoline B, and more. “Risks of Breast, Ovarian, and Contralateral Breast Cancer for BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers.” JAMA, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 June 2017, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28632866/.


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