Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. Cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control.
Breast cancer cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get breast cancer, too.
Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast.
- There are also other types of breast cancer that are less common like phyllodes tumor and angiosarcoma
- A small number of cancers start in other tissues in the breast. These cancers are called sarcomas and lymphomas and are not really thought of as breast cancers.
- Some start in the glands that make breast milk (lobular cancers)
- Most breast cancers begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple (ductal cancers)
Types of Breast Cancer you need to know:
There are many types of breast cancer, and many different ways to describe them.
Invasive Lobular Cancer (ILC)
Invasive breast cancer that begins in the lobules (milk glands) of the breast and spreads to surrounding normal tissue. It can also spread through the blood and lymph systems to other parts of the body.
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic breast cancer is also classified as Stage 4 breast cancer. The cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This usually includes the lungs, liver, bones or brain.
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. The atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue.
Ductal carcinoma in situ is very early cancer that is highly treatable, but if it’s left untreated or undetected, it can spread into the surrounding breast tissue.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
The abnormal cancer cells that began forming in the milk ducts have spread beyond the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body. It is also sometimes called infiltrative ductal carcinoma.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer
A diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer means that the three most common types of receptors known to fuel most breast cancer growth–estrogen, progesterone, and the HER-2/neu gene– are not present in the cancer tumor.
This means that the breast cancer cells have tested negative for hormone epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), estrogen receptors (ER), and progesterone receptors (PR).
Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)
Inflammatory breast cancer is an an aggressive and fast growing breast cancer in which cancer cells infiltrate the skin and lymph vessels of the breast.
It often produces no distinct tumor or lump that can be felt and isolated within the breast. But when the lymph vessels become blocked by the breast cancer cells, symptoms begin to appear.
What to see when having breast cancer – symptoms
- Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
- Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
- A newly inverted nipple
- A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
- Peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin
- Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange
Causes of breast cancer
Doctors know that breast cancer occurs when some breast cells begin to grow abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass.
But, Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer.
But it’s not clear why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet other people with risk factors never do. It’s likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment.
How to prevent breast cancer
- Be Physically Active
- Keep Weight in Check
- Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables – and Avoid Too Much Alcohol
- Breastfeed, If Possible
- Avoid Birth Control Pills, Particularly After Age 35 or If You Smoke
- Avoid Post-Menopausal Hormones