Breast cancer overview
Cancer occurs when changes occur in genes that regulate cell growth. In an uncontrolled manner, mutations allow cells to divide and multiply.
Cancer that grows in breast cells is breast cancer. Usually, cancer forms either in the lobules or in the ducts of the breast. The glands that produce milk are lobules and the ducts are the pathways that bring milk from the glands to the nipple. Cancer can also occur in fatty tissue or fibrous connective tissue in your breast.
Other healthy breast tissue are often invaded by uncontrolled cancer cells and can travel to lymph nodes under the arms. Lymph nodes are a main pathway that helps cancer cells travel to other parts of the body.
Symptoms of breast cancer
Any symptoms may not be caused by breast cancer in its early stages. In many cases, a tumor may be too small to be felt, but still mammogram can see an abnormality. If a tumor can be felt, the first sign is usually a new lump in the breast that wasn’t there before. However, not all bumps are cancer.
A variety of symptoms can be caused by each type of breast cancer. Many of these are similar, but some can be different. The most common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- a breast lump or thickening of tissue that is different from the surrounding tissue and that has developed recently
- breast pain
- red, itchy skin all over your breast
- swelling of all or part of your breast
- nipple discharge other than breast milk
- bloody discharge from your nipple
- flaking, peeling, or peeling of the skin on your nipple or breast
- a sudden change in the breast shape or size
- inverted nipple
- changes in the appearance of your breasts skin
- a lump or swelling under the arm
It doesn’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer if you have any of these symptoms. For example, breast pain or a breast lump may be caused by a benign cyst. Nonetheless, if you find a lump in your breast or have other symptoms, you should visit your doctor for further examination and testing.
Types of breast cancer
There are several types of breast cancer, and they are mainly divided into two main categories: “invasive” and “non-invasive”, or in situ. While the invasive cancer has spread from the ducts or mammary glands to other parts of the breast, the non-invasive cancer has not spread from the original tissue.
These two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer, including:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive condition as with DCIS, cancer cells are confined to the ducts of your breast and have not invaded surrounding breast tissue.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ. Cancer that develops in the milk-producing glands of your breast is lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). Like DCIS, surrounding tissue is not invaded by cancer cells.
- Invasive ductal carcinoma. The most common type of breast cancer is invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). This type of breast cancer starts in the milk ducts of your breast and then spreads to tissues around the breast. Once breast cancer has spread to tissues outside your milk ducts, it may start to spread to other nearby organs and tissues.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma. Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) first develops in the lobules of your breast and has invaded nearby tissues.
Other less common types of breast cancer include:
- Paget’s disease of the nipple. This type of breast cancer starts in the ducts of the nipple, but as it grows it begins to affect the skin and areola of the nipple.
- Phyllodes tumor. This very rare type of breast cancer develops in the connective tissue of the breast. Most of these tumors are benign, but some can be cancerous.
- Angiosarcoma. This is cancer that grows in the blood vessels or lymphatics of the breast.
The type of cancer determines your treatment options, as well as your likely long-term outcome.
Inflammatory breast cancer
A rare but aggressive type of breast cancer is inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). IBC only accounts for between 1 and 5 percent of all breast cancer cases.
With this condition, the cells block the lymph nodes near the breasts, so that the lymph vessels in the breast cannot drain properly. Instead of creating a tumor, IBC causes your breast to swell, appear red, and feel very hot. A cancerous breast can appear pitted and thick, like an orange peel.
IBC can be very aggressive and progress quickly. It is important to call your doctor immediately if you notice any symptoms.
Triple negative breast cancer
Another type of rare disease is triple negative breast cancer, affecting only about 10 to 20 percent of people with breast cancer. A tumor must have all three of the following characteristics to be a triple negative breast cancer:
- It lacks estrogen receptors. These are receptors on cells that bind or attach themselves to the hormone estrogen. If a tumor has estrogen receptors, estrogen can stimulate cancer growth.
- It lacks progesterone receptors. These receptors are cells that bind or attach to the hormone progesterone. If a tumor has progesterone receptors, progesterone can stimulate cancer growth.
- It doesn’t have any extra HER2 proteins on its surface. A protein that fuels the growth of breast cancer is HER2.
If a tumor meets all three of these criteria, it is labeled as triple negative breast cancer. This type of breast cancer grow and spread faster than other types of breast cancer.
Triple negative breast cancers are difficult to treat because hormone therapy for breast cancer is not effective.
Metastatic breast cancer
Another name for stage 4 breast cancer is metastatic breast cancer. It is breast cancer that has spread from your breast to other parts of your body, such as your bones, lungs or breast. liver.
This is an advanced stage of breast cancer. Your oncologist (oncologist) will create a treatment plan with the goal of stopping the growth and spread of the tumor (s).
Male breast cancer
Although they usually have less, men have breast tissue, just like women. It’s much rare that men can get breast cancer too. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer is 100 times less common in white men and 70 times less common in black men.
However, breast cancer that men get is just as serious as that of women. He also has the same symptoms.
Breast cancer pictures
A range of symptoms can be caused by breast cancer, and these symptoms can appear differently in different people.
If you’re concerned about a spot or change in your breast, it can be helpful to know what breast problems look like that is actually cancer.
Stages of breast cancer
Breast cancer can be divided into stages based on the size of the tumor (s) and how far they have spread. Cancers which are large and / or which have invaded neighboring tissues or organs are at a higher stage than cancers which are small and / or still contained in the breast. To stage breast cancer, doctors need to know:
- whether the cancer is invasive or non-invasive
- the size of the tumor
- if lymph nodes are involved
- if the cancer has spread to nearby organs or nearby tissues
Breast cancer has main five stages: stages 0 to 4.
Stage 0 breast cancer
Step 0 is DCIS. DCIS cancer cells remain confined to the breast ducts and have not spread to nearby tissues.
Stage 1 breast cancer
- Stage 1A: The primary tumor is 2 centimeters less or wide and the lymph nodes are not affected.
- Stage 1B: The cancer is in nearby lymph nodes, and either there is no tumor in the breast or the tumor is less than 2 cm.
Stage 2 breast cancer
- Stage 2A: The tumor is less than 2 cm and has spread to 1 to 3 nearby lymph nodes, or it is 2 to 5 cm in size and has not spread to any lymph nodes.
- Stage 2B: The tumor is 2 to 5 cm in size and has spread to 1 to 3 axillary (armpit) lymph nodes, or it is larger than 5 cm and has not spread to any lymph nodes.
Stage 3 breast cancer
- Step 3A:
- The cancer has spread to 4 to 9 axillary lymph nodes or has enlarged internal mammary lymph nodes, and the primary tumor can be of any size.
- The tumors are over 5 cm in size and the cancer has spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes or to any node in the breastbone.
- Stage 3B: A tumor has grown into the chest wall or skin and may or may not have grown to up to 9 lymph nodes.
- Stage 3C: Cancer is found in 10 or more axillary lymph nodes, near the collarbone lymph nodes, or internal mammary nodes.
Stage 4 breast cancer
Stage 4 breast cancer can have a tumor of any size, and its cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes near and far as well as to distant organs.
Tests done by your doctor will determine the stage of your breast cancer, which will affect your treatment.
Diagnosis of breast cancer
To determine if your symptoms are caused by breast cancer or a mild breast condition, your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam in addition to a breast exam. To help understand the cause of your symptoms they may also order one or more diagnostic tests.
Tests that can help diagnose breast cancer include:
- Mammography. The most common way to see under the surface of your breast is with an imaging test called a mammogram. Many women aged 40 and over have annual mammograms to check for breast cancer. If your doctor suspects that you have a tumor or a suspicious stain, they will also ask you for a mammogram. If an abnormal area is seen on your mammogram, your doctor may order additional tests.
- Ultrasound. A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the tissue deep inside your breast. An ultrasound can help your doctor distinguish between a benign cyst and a solid mass, such as a tumor.
Your doctor may also suggest tests such as an MRI or breast biopsy.