Breast Cancer

What Is Breast Cancer ?

Cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control. Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. There are various types of breast cancer. The type of cancer depends upon which cells in the breast transform into cancer. Breast cancer can start in any part of the breast.

A breast is composed of three primary parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk. The ducts are tubes that convey milk to the nipple. The connective tissue encompasses and holds everything together. Most breast cancer start in the ducts or lobules. Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymphatics. When breast cancer spreads to different parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.

Types Of Breast Cancer

The type of breast cancer is determined by the specific cells in the breast that are affected. Most breast cancer are carcinomas, which are tumors that start in the epithelial cells that line organs and tissues throughout the body. When carcinomas form in the breast, they are usually a more specific type called adenocarcinoma, which starts in cells in the ducts (the milk ducts) or the lobules (milk-producing glands).

In Situ Carcinoma vs. Invasive Breast Cancer

In situ breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in SITU or DCIS) is a cancer that starts in a milk duct and has not grown into the rest of the breast tissue. DCIS is a non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. This means the cells that line the ducts have changed to cancer cells but they have not spread through the walls of the ducts into the nearby breast tissue. About 1 in 5 new breast

Invasive (or infiltrating) breast cancer is used to describe any type of breast cancer that has spread (invaded) into the surrounding breast tissue.

Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)

This is the most common type of breast cancer. About 8 in 10 invasive breast cancer are invasive (or infiltrating) ductal carcinomas (IDC).

IDC starts in the cells that line a milk duct in the breast. From there, the cancer breaks through the wall of the duct, and grows into the nearby breast tissues. At this point, it may be able to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body through the lymph system and bloodstream.

Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)

About 1 in 10 invasive breast cancer is an invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC).ILC starts in the milk-producing glands (lobules). Like IDC, it can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Invasive lobular carcinoma may be harder to detect on physical exam and imaging, like mammograms, than invasive ductal carcinoma. And compared to other kinds of invasive carcinoma, about 1 in 5 women with ilc might have cancer in both breasts.

What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer ?

Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.

Some warning signs of breast cancer include

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the Breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of Breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the Breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

*It has to be kept in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer. Most breast lumps are not cancerous*

If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away and get it treated quickly.

How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed ?

The tests include :

  • Mammogram: Mammogram is one of the most common ways of diagnosing breast cancer. Any deformity or abnormal area when seen on the mammogram, the doctor then may run additional tests.
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy : to confirm the diagnosis
  • IHC: for determining the targeted therapy and hormone therapy
  • CECT: to see the extent of the disease
  • Bone Scan : if bone involvement is suspected
  • PET CT scan: for complete staging work up
  • MRI brain: if brain metastases is suspected

Treatment for breast cancer usually the treatment for breast cancer involves a multidisciplinary approach involving surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy and hormone therapy. Stages of Breast cancer the staging of breast cancer depends on the size and spread of the disease. To determine the stage, size of the tumor, involvement of lymph nodes and spread area of the cancer are needed.