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Everything You Need to Know About Breast Cancer

Types of Breast Cancer|Signs and Symptoms |Risk Factors|Diagnosis and Treatment |Key Takeaways
Everything You Need to Know About Breast Cancer

Types of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, but it can also affect men. It can begin to develop in different parts of the breast, but can spread to the three main parts. These are the duct, lobules, and connective tissue.

Breast cancer types are defined by the cells in the breast that turn into cancer.

These are called malignant cells and are found in the mammary glands.

This type of cancer normally affects older women, aged 50 and up. It forms before, during, or after menopause. It used to be the leading cause of cancer death in women in the 20th and 21st century, but it has since been overtaken by lung cancer in developed countries.

What are the Types of Breast Cancer?

  • Ductal Carcinoma in situ
  • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (tubular, medullary mucinous and inflammatory carcinoma under this type)
  • Lobular Carcinoma in situ
  • Invasive Lobular in situ
  • Mixed Ductal and Lobular

A carcinoma is a tumor that grows in the epithelial cells that line the organ and tissues throughout the body.

Breast cancer can spread through blood vessels as well as lymph vessels. This is called metastasizing. When cancer cells spread outside of the breast, it is said to have already metastasized

Signs and Symptoms

The most common sign or symptom of breast cancer is a lump found in the breast area or near the armpit. Not all lumps found in your chest area are indicative of breast cancer. If you do find a suspicious lump or cyst, and it seems to be growing, it is best to consult a doctor.

This is why monthly breast self-examinations are very important. This is the best way to monitor any changes that you may find in your breast.

Other symptoms that you need to look out for would be:

  • A rash on one or both nipples
  • Swelling of part of the breast
  • Dimpling or uneven skin of breast
  • Pain in the nipple area
  • Pain in any area of the breast
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Redness around the skin of your breast that does not go away
  • Peeling or scale-like texture of the skin on the breast or around the nipple

If you experience any of the symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.

Early Detection

One of the best ways to prevent cancer is by early detection. When cancer of the breast is detected early, there is a 99% survival rate.

There are several ways to detect the early signs of breast cancer. You can do a monthly breast self-exam to check for lumps around the breast area as well as near the armpit.

You can also schedule regular visits to the clinic, so that they can check it for you. What is most important is that you do not miss your annual mammogram, especially for women ages 40 and above.

Risk Factors

There are a few factors that may increase your chance of getting the disease. Please note that only a doctor can diagnose you. If you are concerned, consult your doctor.

Risk factors for breast cancer include the following:

  • Gender. Though men can develop breast cancer in rare instances, women are still more prone to developing the condition.
  • Menopause. This type of cancer is normally diagnosed around the age of menopause.
  • Early menstruation. If you started your period before you turned 12, you have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Family history. If you have a first degree relative of cancer, you are more prone to developing it.
  • Lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking and smoking. These two activities increase your risk of cancer.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There are 5 stages of breast cancer.

Stage 0 is non invasive while the other 4 stages are considered invasive breast cancer.

Doctors use the TNM staging system to define the four stages of breast cancer. TNM stands for “tumor, nodes, and metastasis.”

The tumor tells you how much of the breast tissue is impacted. The nodes tell whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, and metastasis defines the cancer’s spread to other parts of the body.

Consult with your doctor for clarity on the staging because every stage has a different prognosis and treatment.

Treatment of Breast Cancer

Being diagnosed with cancer of the breast is not a death sentence.

Depending on the stage and severity, there are 5 different options available in treating the disease.

Based on your diagnosis and unique condition, a doctor may prescribe the following for your treatment plan:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapy

Key Takeaways

Breast cancer is a serious, life-threatening condition, but with early detection, the chances of surviving this particular cancer is 99%.

With the advanced developments in the medical field, breast cancer can now be treated successfully, improving the chances of living a full life.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
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Written by Kathy Kenny Ylaya Ngo on May 25, 2020
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