The Causes and Effects of Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer has many different causes, such as environmental causes, genetics and even art, and effect both the patient and those around them in physical as well as emotional ways. When most people think of breast cancer, they think of the side effects of the treatments. In other words chemotherapy causing hair loss and radiation causing burns. Most people do not think of the emotional effect it has on the patient or the way it effects their family as well. However, there are many effects of the disease, just as there are many causes.

One of the causes of breast cancer is a simple mutation in the genes that can often go undetected. Cancer can be a hereditary illness that is passed down from one generation to the next, but thankfully, new research is proving it can be detected and treated before cancer even has a chance to start (Bourret 41). Another cause of the disease is not as easily detected, but can be prevented, and that is environmental causes. “Smoking, general dietary factors” and several other environmental exposures often result in the diagnosis of breast cancer (Love, 415).

Other than getting cancer through a gene pool or from the environment, being an artist can also attribute to the forming of cancer. “For example, painters have long worked with pigments containing lead, carbon black, cadmium, chromium and arsenic compounds” (Miller and Blair 169). Those are just some examples of the hazardous materials that these artists use, not knowing the full effect it is having on their bodies. In a mortality study of 323 white female artists, most of them being painters, 76 died of a form of cancer and 20 of them from breast cancer (Miller and Blair 170).

Once the cancer was discovered, the effects of the disease were tragic and prevented women from being able to function as they normally would, due to nausea, pain and even debilitating emotions. Emotional effects don’t stem from the diagnosis alone, but also from the simple idea of breast cancer. The possibility of altering their bodies can make some patients go through nonsurgical methods of cancer treatments as opposed to mastectomies that remove breasts entirely. One woman summed up that viewpoint when she said, “If they remove my breast, I will feel less feminine.

If I was meant to only have one breast, I would have been born that way” (Frisby 107). Once the diagnosis has been determined, however, the emotional effects range from depression to anger, and even aggression, and those emotions are not felt by the patient alone. In 1996 it was predicted that an estimated 184,300 women would be diagnosed with breast cancer within that year and 15 to 30% of them would still have children living at home (Hammond 456). In lieu of that fact, people do not always think of the effect cancer has on the caregivers, relatives, and friends of the cancer patient.

In research done on family members of individuals battling breast cancer, it was discovered that children of the patient often dealt with low self-esteem, depression, and even a drop in school grades (Hammond 457). Husbands of cancer patients showed signs of higher distress and lower levels of adjustment as the cancer battle raged on and they continued to watch their wives fight the disease (Hammond 457). Considering this information, it is no wonder that cancer is such a feared illness.

Breast cancer is caused by hobbies, environments, and even genes that cannot be prevented and effects people and families in physical and emotional ways. Although new preventative measures are being discovered and successful treatments are constantly being improved, cancer is a depleting illness that holds the power to destroy lives if not take them. However, with the progress of scientific research there is hope that a cure to breast cancer will some day be found and there is an end in sight for these effects of cancer if not their causes too. Works Cited Bourret, P.”BRCA Patients and Clinical Collectives: New Configurations of Action in Cancer Genetics Practices. ” Social Studies of Science 35. 1 (2005):41-68.

Web. 26 Mar. 2013 Hammond, M. & Lewis, F. “The Father’s, Mother’s, and Adolescent’s Functioning with Breast Cancer. ” Family Relations 45. 4 (1996): 456. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. Love, R. “Biological Aspects of Associations Between Environmental Exposures and Cancer. ” The American Statistician 37. 4. (1983): 413-419. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. Miller, Barry. & Aaron Blair. “Cancer risks among artists . ” MIT Press 25. 2 (1992): 169-173. Web. 2 Apr. 2013.

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