Select a type of cancer associated with women’s or men’s health such as breast, cervical, or ovarian cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
Locate and review articles examining the type of cancer you selected.
Review the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force article in the Learning Resources. Think about available preventive services that providers might recommend for patients at risk of this type of cancer.
Select two of the following factors: genetics, gender, ethnicity, age, or behavior. Reflect on how these factors might impact decisions related to preventive services.
Consider drug treatment options for patients diagnosed with the type of cancer you selected including short-term and long-term implications of the treatments.
Write a 2- to 3- page paper that addresses the following:
Describe available preventive services that providers might recommend for patients at risk of the type of cancer you selected.
Explain how the factors you selected might impact decisions related to preventive services.
Describe drug treatment options for patients diagnosed with the type of cancer you selected. Explain the short-term and long-term implications of these treatments.
Cancer is considered a neoplastic process that facilitates growth of abnormal cells called tumor cells which gain the ability to replicate autonomously and continuously (Bunz 2018). According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), over 8.8 million deaths in 2015 were attributed to cancer (McGuire 2016). The report also predicts that the figures are likely to escalate to about 70 percent in the next twenty years. Breast cancer is the most common and frequently diagnosed type of cancer which is also the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide. It is characterized by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in either milk glands of the breast or in the ducts (passages) that deliver milk to nipples (Veronesi et. al., 2017). This essay assesses breast cancer in regard to its risk factors, preventive strategies as well as its drug treatment options. What is more, the impacts of breast cancer risk factors such as age and gender on preventive care options are equally explored.
Some of the most common factors known to increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer include gender and age. According to Holm (2017), being a woman is the greatest risk factor for developing breast cancer due to the activity of estrogen and progesterone hormones. Correspondingly, as a person advances in age, the chances of developing cancer cells also increase. As the scholar posits, genetic damage takes place in the body as people age. Besides, the body generally becomes less capable of fixing genetic damage as one advance in age.
According to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), there are a number of recommendations for breast cancer preventive care for women. First, for women with breast cancer symptoms and are above 35 years without prior diagnosis of the disease, the care givers must engage in sharing such information so as to allow informed decision making that would enable appropriate prescription of risk reducing medications (Siu, 2016). Equally, the task force recommends the use of tamoxifen and raloxifene on women aged 35 years or older since they are at an increased risk of the disease. According to USPSTF, tamoxifen and raloxifene are the most effective estrogen receptor modulators with the capacity to decrease the likelihood of invasive breast cancer. USPSTF recommends that both tamoxifen and raloxifene be given in daily doses of 20mg and 60mg respectively for a period of 5 years.
The knowledge of breast cancer risk factors has the potential to positively influence women’s decision to embrace preventive care. This is because, factors such as being a woman and getting older cannot be controlled. Therefore, preventive will be considered as the only option through which women may significantly reduce chances of suffering from either primary or secondary breast cancer. Consequently, women will also readily accept lifestyle modification interventions since such interventions also translate to a reduced risk of breast cancer and overall health improvement.
In addition to breast cancer preventive strategies, there are drug treatment options for patients diagnosed with breast cancer. For instance, hormone therapy entails the use of drugs to prevent hormone estrogen from stimulating the growth of breast cancer cells. Fulvestrant is an injection often used to prevent estrogen hormone from attaching itself to cancer cells. According to Kurzrock and Markman (2018), hormone therapy may also be used after surgery to minimize chances for returning of the cancer. Equally, the therapy is also used to shrink the tumor before an operation to enable complete removal of the cancer cells. Unfortunately, hormone therapy has both short term and long-term side effects. The short time side effects include nausea, fatigue and vaginal dryness. The long-term effects on the other hand include resistance to hormone therapies importance in men with breast cancer.
Targeted cancer therapy is equally a treatment option for patients with breast cancer. It involves the use of drugs like lapatinib (Tykerb), trastuzumab (Herceptin) and pertuzumab (Perjeta) (Kurzrock and Markman 2018). The drugs treat the cancer by stimulating the body’s immune system to target and destroy the breast cancer cells. Unfortunately, some patients develop heart damage which can result to congestive heart failure if left untreated. Similarly, lapatinib may cause both severe diarrhea and hand-foot syndrome in which both hands and feet turn red and sore (Kurzrock &Markman 2018). The long-term effects for targeted cancer therapy on the other hand, include allergic reactions and skin rashes.
From this discussion, it is evidenced that cancer prevention strategies are essential components of any breast cancer program. This is because, it has the potential to lower considerably the incidences of breast cancer. However, the preventive approaches should be augmented with preventive strategies such as timely diagnosis to enable early detection which may eventually facilitate effective treatment programs. Understanding breast cancer risk factors is also an integral component of the prevention strategy since it informs the high- risk subgroup of women on the need to accept cancer preventive strategies and to embrace positive lifestyle for an overall life improvement.
Bunz, F. (2018). Principles of cancer genetics. Dordrecht: Springer.
Holm, J., Eriksson, L., Ploner, A., Eriksson, M., Rantalainen, M., Li, J & Czene, K. (2017). Assessment of breast cancer risk factors reveals subtype heterogeneity. Cancer research, 77(13), 3708-3717.
Kurzrock, R., & Markman, M. (2018). Targeted cancer therapy. Totowa: Humana Press
McGuire, S. (2016). World cancer report 2014. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, international agency for research on cancer, WHO Press, 2015.
Siu, A. L. (2016). Screening for breast cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Annals of internal medicine, 164(4), 279-296.
Veronesi, U., In Goldhirsch, A., In Veronesi, P., In Gentilini, O. D., & In Leonardi, M. C. (2017). Breast cancer: Innovations in research and management.