White Women & Breast Cancer

I researched Breast Cancer in White Women. Although, I don’t know anyone who has actually had breast cancer, I have been effected by cancer in general, and believe it is a terrible thing to have to go through/deal with. The fact that White women are more likely to get breast cancer than anyone else is alittle scary (I guess I’m lucky to not have been effected by it anyway thus far).  Breast Cancer, like any cancer occurs as a result of environmental interaction with a defective gene.  In this case it is from malignant(cancer) cells forming in the tissues of the breast, typically in the ducts.  It is considered a heterogeneous disease, which differs by individual, age group, and even the kinds of cells within the tumors themselves. Also it is not predisposed to just women, but men as well.  Being a geneticcly suceptible disease (more likely to occur if someone in your family has/had it) shows the effect genetics plays in our being more prone to this disease. As does societal/environmental factors (oral contraceptives, etc)

chart provided by: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/race.htm

However, the research suggested that white females may be the most likely or to be diagnosed with Breast Cancer each year, but we are far from the highest in mortality from it. The chart below shows disparities between black & white females, but the difference spans more than just the two. These differences are most likely due to societal & cultural norms or pressures, social & economic standing, and availability to proper medical care (screenings,medications, hospitalizations, etc.), as well as differences in genetics & types of tumors/cancer. The disparity between black & white females is so great that while both have declined in average incidents over the years, only whites have declined in mortality, while blacks have increased.

chart provided by:  http://ww5.komen.org/breastcancer/statistics.html

Using the materials we covered in class, its easy to see the influence of things like genetics and environmental factors, on health.  One’s environment can play a huge role, and be a major detriment to ones life.  It determines living conditions, job, income, diet, stress levels, and essentially health. Genetics, are obviously wired into your system & therefore a perminent part of who you are & what your health is like.  However, using race as a determinant is not so easy.  There is no true definition of race, and it is dependent on the individual.  People may concider themselves a race that others may not have, or maybe they concider themselves multiple races.  Its not something that can be pinned down & its all dependent on genetic variants. Because of this, defining or limiting diseases by Race & genetics is a near impossible thing to do.






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