Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells
usually form a Tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is malignant (cancerous) if the cells can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too.
Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body.
Breast Cancers can start from different parts of the breast. Most Breast Cancers Treatment begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple (ductal cancers). Some start in the glands that make Breast milk (lobular cancers). There are also other types of Breast Cancer that are less common. 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. Although many types of breast cancer can cause a lump in the breast, not all do. There are other symptoms of breast cancer you should watch out for and report to a health care provider.
It’s also important to understand that most breast lumps are not cancer, they are benign. Benign breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast and they are not life threatening. But some benign breast lumps can increase a woman's risk of getting Breast cancer. Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care provider to determine whether it is benign or cancer, and whether it might impact your future cancer risk.
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How Breast Cancer Spreads
Breast cancer can spread through the lymph system.
The lymph system includes lymph nodes, lymph vessels and lymph fluid found
throughout the body. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped collections of immune system cells that are connected by lymph (or lymphatic) vessels. Lymph vessels are like small veins, except that they carry a clear fluid called lymph (instead of blood) away from the breast. Lymph contains tissue fluid and waste products, as well as immune system cells.
Breast cancer cells can enter lymph vessels and begin to grow in lymph nodes.
Most of the lymph vessels of the breast drain into:
· Lymph nodes under the arm (axillary nodes).
· Lymph nodes around the collar bone (supraclavicular and infraclavicular lymph
· Lymph nodes inside the chest near the breast bone (internal mammary lymph
Ductal carcinoma in situ
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS; also known as intraductal carcinoma) is considered noninvasive
or pre-invasive breast cancer. DCIS means that cells that lined the ducts have
changed to look like cancer cells. The difference between DCIS and invasive cancer is that the cells have not spread (invaded) through the walls of the ducts into the
surrounding breast tissue. Because it hasn’t invaded, DCIS can’t spread (metastasize) outside the breast. DCIS is considered a pre-cancer because some cases can go on to become invasive cancers. Right now, though, there is no good way to know for certain which cases will go on to become invasive cancers and which ones won’t. About 1 in 5 new breast cancer cases will be DCIS. Nearly all women diagnosed at this early stage of breast cancer can be cured.
Invasive (or infiltrating) ductal carcinoma
This is the most common type of breast cancer. Invasive (or infiltrating) ductal carcinoma
In its early stages, inflammatory breast cancer is often mistaken for an infection in the
breast (called mastitis) and treated as an infection with antibiotics. If the symptoms are
caused by cancer, they will not improve, and a biopsy will find cancer cells. Because
there is no actual lump, it might not show up on a mammogram, which can make it even
harder to find it early. This type of breast cancer tends to have a higher chance of
spreading and a worse outlook (prognosis) than typical invasive ductal or lobular cancer.
This form of cancer starts in cells that line blood vessels or lymph vessels. It rarely
occurs in the breasts. When it does, it usually develops as a complication of previous
radiation treatments. This is an extremely rare complication of breast radiation therapy that can develop about 5 to 10 years after radiation. Angiosarcoma can also occur in the arms of women who develop lymphedema as a result of lymph node surgery or radiation therapy to treat breast cancer.
There are some special types of breast cancer that are sub-types of invasive carcinoma. These are often named after features seen when they are viewed under the microscope, like the ways the cells are arranged.Breast Cancer Treatment in India
· Adenoid cystic (or adenocystic) carcinoma
· Low-grade adenosquamous carcinoma (this is a type of metaplastic carcinoma)
· Medullary carcinoma
· Mucinous (or colloid) carcinoma
· Papillary carcinoma
· Tubular carcinoma
Some sub-types have the same or maybe worse prognosis than standard infiltrating ductal
carcinoma. These include:
· Metaplastic carcinoma (most types, including spindle cell and squamous)
· Micropapillary carcinoma
· Mixed carcinoma (has features of both invasive ductal and lobular)
In general, all of these sub-types are still treated like standard infiltrating ductal
What are the key statistics about breast
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin
cancers. About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during
The American Cancer Society's estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2016
· About 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
· About 61,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is noninvasive
and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
· About 40,450 women will die from breast cancer.
Trends in breast cancer incidence
After increasing for more than 20 years, breast cancer incidence rates in women began
decreasing in 2000, and dropped by about 7% from 2002 to 2003. This large decrease
was thought to be because fewer women used hormone therapy after menopause after the results of the Women's Health Initiative were published in 2002. This study linked using
hormone therapy to an increased risk of breast cancer and heart diseases.
In recent years, incidence rates have been stable in white women, but have increased
slightly in African American women.
Trends in breast cancer deaths
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. (Only lung cancer
kills more women each year.) The chance that a woman will die from breast cancer is
about 1 in 36 (about 3%).
Death rates from breast cancer have been dropping since about 1989, with larger
decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of
finding breast cancer earlier through screening and increased awareness, as well as better