What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the disease in which the cells multiply at an abnormal rate and displace normal breast tissue. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is called metastasized breast cancer. Breast cancer and its complications can affect nearly every part of the body. Although breast cancer predominantly occurs in women, it can also affect men.
What is usually the first sign of breast cancer?
The common signs of breast cancer include:
- A lump in the breast or in the armpits is often the first sign of breast cancer. This may be felt while in the shower. There may or may not be changes in the structure of the breast. Axillary (armpit) swelling may indicate that cancer from the breast has traveled to the lymph nodes, and now there may be a lymph node invasion.
Apart from above signs below are few other sign and symptoms:
- Changes in the nipple area, nipple retraction and inverted nipple are common warning signs of breast cancer
- Bleeding from the nipple may be limited and difficult to see, but if an individual notices blood stains on the bra, or if the secretions are unusual, bloody or continuous, they may need urgent medical attention.
- Change in color and/or thickening of skin on the breast that resembles an orange rind is a warning sign of breast cancer. If the breast skin changes color, typically to a pink or reddish hue that covers more than half the breast that may also be a warning sign.
- A non-healing sore anywhere on the breast, including the nipple with or without bleeding may be a warning sign of breast cancer
- Increased warmth in the breast with change in size and appearance of breast is a sign of breast cancer.
What are the different types of breast cancer?
Breast cancer usually begins either in glands that make milk (called lobular carcinoma), or the ducts that carry it to the nipple (called ductal carcinoma). There are several types of breast cancer, and they are broken into two main categories: “invasive” and “noninvasive,” (in situ). These two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer, which include:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): DCIS is a noninvasive condition. The cancer cells are confined to the ducts in the breast and haven’t invaded the surrounding breast tissue.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): LCIS is cancer that grows in the milk-producing glands of breast; it may not invade the surrounding tissue.
- Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC): It is the most common type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer begins in breast’s milk ducts and then invades nearby tissue in the breast. Once the breast cancer has spread to the tissue outside milk ducts, it can begin to spread to other nearby organs and tissue.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma: It first develops in milk-producing lobules of the breast and invades nearby tissues.
- Paget disease of the nipple: This cancer begins in the ducts of the nipple, but as it grows, it begins to affect the skin and area of the nipple.
- Phyllodes tumor: This very rare type of breast cancer grows in the connective tissue of the breast. It may be benign or cancerous.
- Angiosarcoma: This cancer grows on the blood and lymph vessels in the breast.
What are the treatment options for breast cancer?
Depending on the type and stage of cancer, treatments can vary. However, there are some common practices doctors and specialists use to combat breast cancer:
- Lumpectomy is when the doctor removes the tumor while leaving the breast intact.
- Mastectomy is when the doctor surgically removes all of the breast tissue including the tumor and connecting tissue including the lymph nodes.
- Chemotherapy is the most common cancer treatment, and it involves the use of anticancer drugs. These drugs interfere with cells’ ability to reproduce.
- Radiation uses X-rays to treat cancer directly.
- Hormonal and targeted therapy can be used when either genes or hormones play a part in the cancer growth. This therapy targets the specific protein on the tumor cells.
What is the survival rate of breast cancer?
Breast cancer has a predicted 90% five-year survival rate. This means that 90 out of 100 people diagnosed with breast cancer are likely to live five years after their diagnosis. This does not mean an individual will die after five years, but a person may live for a minimum five years and more.
Top What Is Usually the First Sign of Breast Cancer Related Articles
Bone Marrow Transplantation for Breast CancerBone marrow transplantation is a treatment option for metastatic breast cancer. Check out the center below for more medical references on breast cancer, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Young Women & Breast CancerIs breast cancer genetic? Should I get tested for the BRCA gene? What every young women should know about breast cancer. Discover the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and other crucial breast cancer facts.
Where Breast Cancer SpreadsWhen breast cancer spreads, or metastasizes, it often goes to these five places: the lymph nodes, bones, liver, lungs, and brain. See how breast cancer metastasis affects the body, possible symptoms, and treatment.
Breast Cancer SlidesLearn about breast cancer causes, symptoms, tests, recovery, and prevention. Discover the types of treatments such as surgery and drug therapies as well as the survival rate for breast cancer.
Breast Cancer QuizThis Breast Cancer Quiz features signs, symptoms, facts, causes, common forms, terms, risk factors, statistics, and more. Increase your awareness of breast cancer now!
Can Fibroadenomas Turn Into Breast Cancer?A fibroadenoma is the most common type of benign, non-cancerous lump of the breast. Although it is rare, complex fibroadenomas and phyllodes tumors have a chance to develop into malignant breast cancer.
Genetic Testing for Breast CancerIntensive genetic counseling is required before undergoing genetic tests for breast cancer. During this educational counseling session, the health care provider can fully explain the benefits and risks of genetic testing and answer any questions you may have. You will also be required to sign a consent form prior to participating in any genetic tests. The form is an agreement between you and your doctor, showing that you have discussed the test and how its results might affect your family.
Inflammatory Breast CancerInflammatory breast cancer is an accelerated form of breast cancer that is not usually detected by mammogram or ultrasound. Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include pain in the breast, skin change in the breast area, bruise on the breast,sudden swelling of the breast, nipple retraction or discharge, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Is a Breast Ultrasound or Mammogram Better?The breast cancer diagnostic test best suited to you depends on your age, your symptoms, and the structure of your breasts. As a rule of thumb, a breast ultrasound is more accurate in women younger than 45 years. A mammography is preferred in women older than 45 years.
Male Breast CancerMale breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancers, and most cases are found in men between the ages of 60 and 70. A man's risk of developing breast cancer is one in 1,000. Signs and symptoms include a firm mass located below the nipple and skin changes around the nipple, including puckering, redness or scaling, retraction and ulceration of the nipple. Treatment depends upon staging and the health of the patient.
Radiation Therapy for Breast CancerRadiation therapy for breast cancer is a form of treatment that utilizes high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Check out the center below for more medical references on breast cancer, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
What Is the Difference Between a Radical Mastectomy and Modified Radical Mastectomy?In a radical mastectomy, the entire breast tissue along with the nipple, covering skin, lymph nodes (filter organs for harmful substances) in the armpit and chest wall muscle under the breast is removed. It is known as a standard treatment for breast cancer. In a modified radical mastectomy (MRM), the entire breast is removed, including the skin, areola (surrounding the nipple), nipple and most armpit lymph nodes. The underlying chest wall muscles (the pecs) will be left intact. Additionally, the skin covering the chest wall may or may not be removed.
Triple-Negative Breast CancerTriple-negative breast cancer is more common in Hispanic and African-American women. Signs and symptoms include a lump in the armpit or breast, nipple discharge and inversion, and changes in the breast's skin. Treatment may incorporate surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
What Age Should a Woman Get a Mammogram?Regular mammography (X-ray breast imaging) helps in detecting breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before a breast lump is noticeable in self-exam. Women should start getting a mammogram every year at age 45, assuming they have no risk factors that would require earlier screening, but may dial back to every couple years after 55 when the peak statistical risk of breast cancer has passed.