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Breast Cancer 

- Lets Know Breast Cancer

Cancer occurs when changes called mutations to take place in genes that regulate cell growth. The mutations let the cells divide and multiply in an uncontrolled way.


Breast cancer is cancer that develops in breast cells. Typically, the cancer forms in either the lobules or the ducts of the breast. Lobules are the glands that produce milk, and ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple. Cancer can also occur in the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within your breast.


The uncontrolled cancer cells often invade other healthy breast tissue and can travel to the lymph nodes under the arms. The lymph nodes are a primary pathway that helps the cancer cells move to other parts of the body.

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Breast cancer symptoms

Each type of breast cancer can cause a variety of symptoms. Many of these symptoms are similar, but some can be different.

Symptoms for the most common breast cancers include:

  1. A breast lump or tissue thickening that feels different than surrounding tissue and has developed recently

  2. Breast pain

  3. Red, pitted skin over your entire breast

  4. Swelling in all or part of your breast

  5. A nipple discharge other than breast milk

  6. Bloody discharge from your nipple

  7. Peeling, scaling, or flaking of skin on your nipple or breast

  8. A sudden, unexplained change in the shape or size of your breast

  9. Inverted nipple

  10. Changes to the appearance of the skin on your breasts

  11. A lump or swelling under your arm

If you have any of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer. For instance, pain in your breast or a breast lump can be caused by a benign cyst. Still, if you find a lump in your breast or have other symptoms, you should see your doctor for further examination and testing.

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Stages of Breast Cancer

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Types of breast cancer

There are several types of breast cancer, and they are broken into two main categories:

invasive” and “noninvasive,” or in situ.

 

While invasive cancer has spread from the breast ducts or glands to other parts of the breast, noninvasive cancer has not spread from the original tissue.

These two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer, which include:

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a noninvasive condition. With DCIS, the cancer cells are confined to the ducts in your breast and haven’t invaded the surrounding breast tissue.

  • Lobular carcinoma in situ. Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is cancer that grows in the milk-producing glands of your breast. Like DCIS, the cancer cells haven’t invaded the surrounding tissue.

  • Invasive ductal carcinoma. Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) is the most common type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer begins in your breast’s milk ducts and then invades nearby tissue in the breast. Once the breast cancer has spread to the tissue outside your milk ducts, it can begin to spread to other nearby organs and tissue.

  • Invasive lobular carcinomaInvasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) first develops in your breast’s lobules and has invaded nearby tissue.

Other, less common types of breast cancer include:

  • Paget disease of the nipple. This type of breast cancer begins 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 grows in the connective tissue of the breast. Most of these tumors are benign, but some are cancerous.

  • Angiosarcoma. This is cancer that grows on the blood vessels or lymph vessels in the breast.

The type of cancer you have determines your treatment options, as well as your likely long-term outcome.

Breast Cancer : About

Breast cancer stages

Breast cancer can be divided into stages based on how large the tumor or tumors are and how much it has spread. Cancers that are large and/or have invaded nearby tissues or organs are at a higher stage than cancers that are small and/or still contained in the breast.

 

In order to stage a breast cancer, doctors need to know:

  • if the cancer is invasive or noninvasive

  • how large the tumor is

  • whether the lymph nodes are involved

  • if the cancer has spread to nearby tissue or organs

Breast cancer has five main stages: stages 0 to 5.

Stage 0 breast cancer

Stage 0 is DCIS. Cancer cells in DCIS remain confined to the ducts in the breast and have not spread into nearby tissue.

Stage 1 breast cancer

  • Stage 1A: The primary tumor is 2 centimeters wide or less and the lymph nodes are not affected.

  • Stage 1B: Cancer is found in nearby lymph nodes, and either there is no tumor in the breast, or the tumor is smaller than 2 cm.

Stage 2 breast cancer

  • Stage 2A: The tumor is smaller than 2 cm and has spread to 1–3 nearby lymph nodes, or it’s between 2 and 5 cm and hasn’t spread to any lymph nodes.

  • Stage 2B: The tumor is between 2 and 5 cm and has spread to 1–3 axillary (armpit) lymph nodes, or it’s larger than 5 cm and hasn’t spread to any lymph nodes.

Stage 3 breast cancer

  • Stage 3A:

    • The cancer has spread to 4–9 axillary lymph nodes or has enlarged the internal mammary lymph nodes, and the primary tumor can be any size.

    • Tumors are greater than 5 cm and the cancer has spread to 1–3 axillary lymph nodes or any breastbone nodes.

  • Stage 3B: A tumor has invaded the chest wall or skin and may or may not have invaded up to 9 lymph nodes.

  • Stage 3C: Cancer is found in 10 or more axillary lymph nodes, lymph nodes near the collarbone, 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 nearby and distant lymph nodes as well as distant organs.

The testing your doctor does will determine the stage of your breast cancer, which will affect your treatment.

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