In this essay I will be discussing a very serious issue that affects thousands of women each year; breast cancer. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death of women between the ages of 40 and 49 in North America. This paper will go on to talk about the facts of the disease and who is at risk, prevention, detection and treatments. Although there is no known cure for breast cancer, knowledge of the disease is sure to save many lives.
For many women, breasts are a very visible symbol of femininity, " a focal point of sexuality or fashion as well as a proud source of nurturing new life. For others, the breast is a body part shrouded by custom and religious taboos". Breasts are made up of several kinds of cells: adipose (fatty tissue), stroma (connective tissue), and the epithelium that forms milk-producing glands. Breast size depends on heredity and body weight. A common misconception is that the larger the breast the greater the risk for breast cancer. VERY UNTRUE.
There is not just one contributing factor to the existence of breast cancer. There are numerous causes and by studying these factors we can see who is at high risk. Women between the ages of 25-29 who have used or are using oral contraceptives are 16% more likely to develop breast cancer. As a woman's age increases so does her risk. For example an 80 year old woman has a 1 in 10 chance of getting breast cancer, while a 25 year old woman has a 1 in 19,608 chance of getting the disease. Only 5-10% of women who develop breast cancer has a family history of the disease. The delivery of a child before the age of 20 causes hormonal changes in the breast tissue which provides modest protection against breast cancer. Delaying the first child until after the age of 30 or not having any children at all increases the risk of breast cancer 2 to 4 times. It could be said that having children might save your life as it has also been proven that breast-feeding may decrease the chance of getting breast cancer by a small amount.