As of January 2021, Emily is a 42-year-old woman suffering from breast cancer. In 2019, she visited her local clinic to undergo dermatological evaluation due to a history of skin changes in one of her breasts. Emily noticed that her breasts were asymmetrical four months prior to her initial appointment with a gynecologist. Upon her first visit to the doctor, Emily’s concerns were disregarded since the misinterpretation of the symptoms could be attributed to breastfeeding. The second visit to the medical office happened 5 months after Emily had noticed asymmetry and skin deformation. Physical examination showed differences in size and coloration of the breasts. In addition to her left breast being smaller, the doctor informed Emily of edema and induration observed on the breast area. A skin biopsy demonstrated that Emily had a high-grade carcinoma, which invaded the dermis. Clinicians performed a molecular analysis, which showed that the interviewee’s tumor was ER-positive and PR-positive. After collecting data on estrogen and progesterone receptors, the doctors conducted a human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) test, and Emily’s result was negative. Emily was diagnosed with Stage IIA Invasive Cancer and started her treatment immediately.
In this section of the paper, the author will discuss etiology, pathogenesis, risk factors, and clinical implications of breast cancer. Clinical manifestations of breast cancer include thickness of breasts, redness and flakiness of skin around nipples, changes in breast size and shape, inverted nipples, pigmentation of areolas, as well as lumps and pain in the breasts. Some of the most common risk factors are obesity, personal or family history of cancer, genetic predisposition, having no pregnancies, or a late pregnancy with the first child.
It is evident this type of cancer occurs when breast cells multiply abnormally. They divide at a more rapid pace than healthy cells, thus leading to the formation of lumps. Such processes can ether originate in the milk-producing ducts or lobules. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the cause of brain cancer is a combination of a person’s genetic make-up and environmental/lifestyle factors.
A set of clinical manifestations of breast cancer includes swelling of breasts, flaky skin, discoloration, irritation of the skin, nipple discharge, pulling in of the nipple, as well as loss of weight. The interviewee experienced thickening of her left breast, skin redness and flakiness in the nipple area, as well as irritation of some parts of her left breast. In addition, Emily lost a considerable amount of weight and often found herself in a state of emotional distress due to fatigue and occasional pain in the breasts. A family history of cancer and having the first child at an older age might have been the primary risk factors for Emily.
In this section of the paper, the author will discuss treatment for breast cancer, including pharmacological and other options. Medical plans of patients with Stage II breast cancer include local or systemic therapy (Waks & Winer, 2019). The first approach refers to surgery and radiation treatments, with radiotherapy being delayed if the person has to undergo chemotherapy. Breast reconstruction is another method of cancer removal that can be done only after the patient completes radiation therapy (Waks & Winer, 2019). The second intervention includes neoadjuvant and adjuvant systemic therapy, which are centered around the administration of drugs. Chemotherapy, hormone treatments, and HER2 medications are used depending on the patient’s age, test results, tumor size, and hormone-receptor status.
The most common treatment options for Stage II cancer include chemo- and radiotherapy, as well as prescription of HER2 medications. The interviewee’s medical plan included chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgeries, and radiation treatments. In addition, Emily was recommended a medically induced menopause, which was followed by hysterectomy and oophorectomy. As a result, the interviewee is now in palliative care for osteoarthritis in her right knee due to the trauma from the aforementioned treatments.
Impact on Lifestyle
Cancer has had a big impact on Emily’s life, relationships, and mental health. A variety of treatments she has to undergo cause the interviewee a lot of pain, both physical and emotional. Apart from chronic pain, Emily has to cope with neuropathy, anxiety, and depression, which have become constant in her day-to-day life. Finding a balance between raising a son, working a part-time job, and going through rounds of chemo- and radiation therapy has been exceptionally difficult. Steroids given to Emily before chemotherapy caused her to gain a significant amount of weight, which contributed to her feeling self-conscious about losing her hair. The most devastating aspect of Emily’s journey battling cancer has been finding support to remain positive and have an optimistic outlook on the future.
In summary, immune disorders can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. The paper examines a young mother’s story battling Stage II breast cancer. Emily’s treatments include chemo- and radiotherapy as well as surgeries. Considering the effects of the condition, it has been difficult to stay positive, but Emily manages to remain optimistic while dealing with chronic pain, neuropathy, and depressive episodes.
Anstey, E. H., Shoemaker, M. L., Barrena, C. M., O’Neil, M. E., Verma, A. B., & Holdman, D. M. (2017). Breastfeeding and breast cancer risk reduction: Implications for black mothers. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(3), 40-46. Web.
Waks, A. G, & Winer, E. P. (2019). Breast cancer treatment: A review. JAMA, 321(3), 288–300. Web.