Breast cancer meaning
Breast cancer is a disease that specifically affects women, but it may also affect men, albeit in a much smaller percentage, as doctors have recently made great achievements in the fields of early detection and treatment of breast cancer to reduce the number of deaths caused by the disease.
Previously, detection of breast cancer meant removal of the entire breast. Today, these operations are performed only in rare cases, as there is a wide range of treatments available.
Breast cancer symptoms
Breast cancer in most cases does not show symptoms in its early stages, but symptoms appear as it grows and grows. Breast cancer sometimes causes changes in the appearance or feel of the breast. These changes include the following signs and symptoms :
- A lump in the breast area, a lump in the armpit that was not previously present, or a lump that has changed.
- A change in the shape or size of the breast.
- New, persistent pain that does not go away, in the breast or nipple.
- crusting, redness, swelling, dimpling or puckering, somewhere in the skin of the breast or nipple
- Changes in the appearance of the nipple (a sunken nipple that was not previously there).
- Discharge from the nipple.
If one of these symptoms appears, you should see a doctor, and these symptoms often occur with other causes than cancer.
Breast cancer causes
Doctors know that breast cancer occurs when certain breast cells begin to grow abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or tumor. The cells may spread (metastasize) through the breast to the lymph nodes or to other parts of your body.
Breast cancer usually begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts (invasive lactational carcinoma). Breast cancer can also begin in glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma), or in other cells or tissues within the breast.
Researchers have identified lifestyle, hormonal, and environmental factors that may increase the risk of breast cancer. But it’s not clear why some people develop cancer even though they don’t have any risk factors, and others who have no risk factors don’t. Breast cancer is likely caused by the complex interaction of genetic makeup and the environment in which you live.
Breast cancer types
There are many types of breast cancer, and breast cancer types are divided into two main groups as follows :
- Invasive Breast Cancer: It is characterized by the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the breast than the one from which they began, as well as its spread to other parts of the body.
- Noninvasive Breast Cancer: Cancer cells remain in a specific place in the breast and do not spread to other parts of the body.
The previous two categories of breast cancer describe many types of breast cancer, which are classified based on the shape of the cancer cells when examined under a microscope, and based on the type of tissue in which the breast cancer began.
Ductal carcinoma in situ
Ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS develops in the milk ducts of the breast, and the cancerous cells in this type do not invade any of the surrounding breast tissue.
Invasive ductal carcinoma
Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) is the most common type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer begins in the milk ducts and then invades other tissues in the breast. It can also spread to other parts of the body.
Invasive ductal carcinomas have a number of subtypes that include :
- Tubular ductal carcinoma of the breast.
- Medullary Ductal Carcinoma.
- Mucinous ductal carcinoma of the breast, also known as colloid carcinoma.
- Papillary Breast Cancer.
- Cribriform Breast Cancer.
Iobular carcinoma in situ
Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS) is a non-invasive type of cancer that occurs in the glands at the end of the milk ducts in the breast.
Invasive lobular carcinoma
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma or IDC is the second most common type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer initially affects the breast lobules, then spreads to other breast tissues, and can spread to other parts of the body.
Molecular breast cancer
Molecular breast cancer includes five types that are classified based on the genes that the cancer expresses. These types include :
- Luminal A breast cancer.
- Luminal B breast cancer.
- Triple negative breast cancer.
- HER2-positive breast cancer.
- Breast cancer as normal (in English: Normal-Like).
Breast cancer stages
When confirming the infection of the disease, the attending physician must determine the stage of infection of the patient; To determine the prognosis and the best treatment options.
Tests and procedures used to stage breast cancer include :
- Blood tests, such as a complete blood count.
- other mammogram; To look for signs of cancer.
- Magnetic resonance imaging of the breast.
- Orthopedic examination.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan.
Not all women will need to have all of these tests; Rather, the attending physician determines the appropriate tests.
Breast cancer stages range from 0 to 4, and are as follows :
- Grade 0 : Also called (non-invasive breast cancer), or local. Although these tumors do not have the ability to invade healthy tissue in the breast, or spread to other organs in the body, it is important to eradicate and remove them; Because they may turn into invasive tumors in the future.
- Grades I through IV : These are invasive tumors that have the ability to invade healthy breast tissue and then spread to other parts of the body. A grade I carcinoma is a small, local tumor, and the chances of a full recovery from it are very high. However, the higher the score, the lower the chances of recovery.
- Grade IV : A cancerous tumor that has spread outside the breast tissue and has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, bones, and liver. Although cancer cannot be cured at this stage, there is a chance that it will respond well to a variety of treatments, which will cause the tumor to shrink and keep it under control for a long period of time.
Breast cancer treatment
Treatment is determined according to the diagnosis of the disease (type, stage, size of the tumor) and the patient’s health condition :
- Chemotherapy and biological therapy.
- Radiation therapy.
- hormonal therapy;
- Targeted therapy.
Breast cancer prevention
- A healthy lifestyle, which includes healthy food, physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Consult your physician if using hormone replacement therapy.
- Take care to breastfeed.
- Avoid smoking.
- Early detection.
- Breast self-examination.
Breast cancer in men
It is known that during puberty, testosterone levels rise, and estrogen levels decrease, which leads to a halt in male breast growth.
There are some milk ducts in men but they remain underdeveloped, and the lobules are often absent. However, breast problems, including male breast cancer, can occur.
Most types of breast cancer in men are invasive ductal carcinoma, and less than 2% are invasive lobular carcinomas.
The average age of breast cancer diagnosis for men is older than for women, and is 68 years old.