What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is cancer in which breast cells begin to grow without control. The growing number of cells together forms a tumor which can be felt as a lump or change in the shape of a breast. Breast cancer in human can begin in any area of the breast. In the human body, a breast is used for feeding baby in women, and it is made up of three parts: ducts, lobules, and connective tissues. All three and linked to each other the lobules work to produce milk, the ducts are the tubes which carry milk all the way to the nipple, and the connective tissue holds and surrounds everything together. Commonly breast cancer occurs in the lobules or ducts in a breast.
The most common types of breast cancer are-
- Invasive ductal carcinoma- In this cancer, cells generally grow in the outside area of the duct tubes later in other areas of the breast tissue. In invasive ductal carcinoma cells also metastasize or spread, to other areas of the body.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma- In lobular carcinoma cells spread only from the lobules to the tissues that are nearby.
There are some other less known types of breast cancer, like External medullary, Paget’ disease, mucinous, and inflammatory cancer.
Some of the common symptoms and signs of having breast cancer:
- A breast thickening or lump which feels and appears different from the other surrounding tissue
- Changes to the color, texture of the skin in the breast area, like dimpling
- Change in the appearance, shape, size of the breast
- Scaling, peeling, flaking or crusting of the skin surrounding the breast skin or the nipple
- Pitting or redness of the skin near the breast, like an orange
Stages of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer in a breast starts from the innermost lining of the lobules or the ducts which produce and supply milk for breastfeeding. From there, those cancer cells multiply uncontrollably and spread to other areas of the body. In breast cancer, it is difficult to state one risk factor behind the cause as some Risk Factors of Breast Cancer can be because of influence, and others cannot be defined and modified. Below are some of the risk factors:
- Age- As the age of a person increases the chances of having breast cancer also increases.
- Genetics- If anyone in the family has a history of breast cancer, the risk of breast cancer increases. In most cases, women who have the BRCA1 and 2 genes have more chances of having or developing breast cancer.
- Dense & thick breast tissue- Women with higher density and thick breast tissue are likely to have breast cancer.
- Alcohol consumption- Regular and excessive alcohol consumption plays a big role. According to researches, women who consume more than 5 drinks a day generally have a higher risk of breast cancer.
- Hormone changes and treatment- Intake of birth control pills and use of hormone replacement medication have a strong connection to breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Stages
Breast Cancer In Women is staged as per the tumor size and how much it is spread in other parts of the body. There are different staging categories of breast cancer.
Stage 0: Initial stage of breast cancer known as DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), in this cell arelimited and are present in the duct and have not yet enter into the surrounding tissues.
Treatment- The treatment options for non-invasive tumors are different from the treatment approaches of invasive cancer. Generally, patients with stage 0 breast cancer are treated with radiation and hormone therapy depending upon the state.
Stage I: Just like stage 0 it is at the initial stage, the tumor in the breast is up to 1.5 cm, and it has not yet entered and affected lymph nodes.
Stage II: The size of the tumor is up to 2 cm and has slowly started to spread and affect lymph nodes.
Stage III: In this tumor crosses up to 5 cm, and it has spread all across the lymph nodes.
Treatment for stages I to III
Most people patients on stage I to III of breast cancer usually treated with surgeries, radiation, hormone, combination, or chemotherapy. In some cases, patients are either before or right after surgery are kept drug therapies.
Stage IV: This is the last stage of breast cancer as in this stage, it has extended to other organs of the body like the liver, lungs, or brain.
Treatment for IV:
Breast cancer treatment stage changes beyond stage III as spreads beyond breast in other parts and organs of the body. The treatment for stage IV includes systemic therapy followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Everything Health says an individual should routinely keep a check on the breast in order to save themselves from breast cancer. In case, the breast cancer is detected, a person should immediately consult a cancer specialist.