Breast Cancer in Women
In recent times, the mortality rate of breast cancer was ranked second to lung cancer. According to DeSantis et al. institutes that there is about 2.6% chance for every woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer to survive (2014). Since 1989 to 2007, the death rate attributed to breast cancer showed a significant decline followed by a steady increase since 2007 mainly in women between fifty and seventy-four years. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the women in the said age bracket be screened after every two years. According to Siegel, Miller & Jemal’s report (2016), about seventy-seven percent of women with breast cancer are diagnosed after they have attained the age of fifty and above indicating that the risk increases with age.
As the United States’ Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) institutes, the screening of breast cancer in women can be done either through the use of mammogram or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which shows the structures within the breast. The MRI technique is recommended for patients who are at high risk of developing the disease such as persons with a family history regarding the breast cancer disease.
Age and gender are some of the factors that can affect the decisions that health care providers make when choosing preventive services of breast cancer in women (Ruddy & Winer, 2013). For instance, the use of mammogram as a screening test among women who are above 40 years can be harmful because the technique is invasive and involves repeated exposure. Additionally, more harm can be caused due to false positive test results that can prompt clinicians to conduct more tests which are more time-consuming and costly hence triggering unnecessary anxiety among patients.
United States’ Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) revealed that gender is a vital patient factor which has a significant contribution to the risk of evolving breast cancer (Anderson, Schwab & Martinez, 2014). For instance, the task force outlines that women are more likely to advance breast cancer contrary to the males. As a result, regular screening should be conducted in women who are age and of the Caucasian or Afro-American ethnicity since they are more susceptible to breast cancer. Conversely, men are less vulnerable hence their risk assessment requires proper consultation with a doctor.
Drug treatment options:
Some of the agents that indicated in patients with breast cancer are the Selective Estrogen Modulators (SERMs). Estrogen has been implicated highly in the pathophysiology of breast cancer (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Therefore, the SERMs act by binding to the estrogen receptors hence preventing estrogen from binding to its receptors. Tamoxifen is an example of a SERM that is FDA approved. It has been noted that some of the short-term implications of tamoxifen include early development of menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, nausea, low libido, and mood swings (Burstein et al. 2016). The long-term implications include the risk of blood clotting as well as endometrial cancer due to prolonged exposure.
Bevacizumab is another anticancer agent whose molecular target is the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). Uncontrolled angiogenesis is a common phenomenon in breast cancer, just like other cancers. The said process above is significantly determined by VEGF. Administration of bevacizumab prevents the blood vessels growth thereby reducing oxygen supply and other nutrients to cancerous cells leading to necrosis. However, it is imperative to note that this drug causes fatigue, nausea, and diarrhea. It also increases the risk of stroke and development of heart attack. Radiotherapy is another important technique for treating breast cancer.