Types of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can begin in the breast lobules, ducts and in some cases it can begin in the tissues between. A breast is made up of milk producing glands called lobules and ducts that pass milk to the nipple. There are different types of breast cancer. It is therefore important that you undergo regular check ups so that your doctor can plan the most suitable treatment for you. The following are the different types of breast cancer.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

This type of cancer is not so common and accounts for about 3% of all breast cancers. With this type of cancer, there is no single tumor or lump. Instead, (IBC) inflammatory breast cancer makes the skin that covers the breast red and warmth is felt around that part of the breast. The cancer may also give the breast skin a pitted appearance that looks like an orange peel. It has been established that infection or inflammation does not cause these changes. These changes are caused by cancerous cells that block lymph vessels on the skin. The breast may become itchy, tender, firmer or larger. In its early stages, this type of cancer is often thought to be a mastitis breast infection which might be treated with antibiotics. After the patient takes the antibiotics and no difference is noted, a biopsy test will show the presence of cancerous cells. Since no actual lump shows, this type of breast cancer might not be seen on a mammogram. This makes it very hard to diagnose. This cancer usually spreads and has a worse outlook than lobular or invasive ductal cancer

Paget Disease of the Nipple

This type of cancer starts in the breasts’ ducts and spreads to the areola (the dark skin that forms the nipple), then to the skin of the nipple. It is quite rare and accounts for about one percent of all breast cancers. The areola and the skin of the breast often appear red, scaly and crusted with areas of oozing and bleeding. Some burning or itching sensation might also be felt. It is often associated with infiltrating ductal carcinoma or ductal carcinoma in situ. Treatment of this cancer requires mastectomy. In case no lump is felt in the breast, and a biopsy shows ductal carcinoma in situ but no sign of invasive cancer, the prognosis will be excellent. If there is presence of invasive cancer, the cancer might need to be treated like other invasive cancers.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

This type of cancer refers to a type of cancer where breast cells lack progesterone and estrogen receptors. The cells do not also have excess HER2 protein on their surfaces. This type of cancer mostly affects younger women. Triple negative breast cancer grows and spreads faster than most types of cancers. Since the tumor cells do not have estrogen or progesterone receptors, neither drugs nor hormone therapy can treat this cancer. Chemotherapy is useful, though. It is recommended even if the cancer is in its early stages because it reduces the risk of the disease coming back again.

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ

Ductal carcinoma in situ is also known as intraductal carcinoma. It is classified as pre-invasive or non-invasive breast cancer. With this type of cancer, the cells that line the ducts mutate and become cancerous cells. The difference between invasive cancer and this type of cancer is that the cells do not spread through the duct walls into the surrounding tissues. In some cases, this cancer is considered to be pre-cancer because the cells can mutate and become invasive cancers. It cannot be established with certainty which cases will be become invasive and which will not.

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

This type of cancer is the most common breast cancer. Infiltrating or invasive ductal carcinoma starts in the milk ducts of the breasts and breaks through duct walls. It then grows further into the breast’s fatty tissues. At this point, it metastasizes and spreads to other body parts through the blood stream and the lymphatic system. About eight of ten invasive breast cancers are infiltrating.

Invasive Lobular Carcinoma

Invasive lobular carcinoma, denoted as ILC, starts in the breasts’ milk producing glands. Just like invasive ductal carcinoma, it spreads to other body parts. About one invasive breast cancer in ten is an invasive lobular carcinoma. Detecting invasive lobular carcinoma using a mammogram is very hard.

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