After skin and lung cancer, specialists say that breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in women. Even talking about breast cancer and the rates at which it has been continuously growing and taking peoples’ lives makes a person’s skin crawl. Regular check-ups and self-checks are the only way of detecting cancer on time.
You can get a wide range of help and information on breast cancer from various sources. Still, a reputable center for breast health in Pembroke Pines is one of the finest institutions that can provide mammograms and lifestyle guidelines for promoting breast health. At NuWave Women’s Health, you will get all the information and support needed to work on the prevention and healing from a breast cancer diagnosis.
To make things more straightforward and easier to understand, below, we have divided the topic of breast cancer into categories that will, hopefully, help in filtering immense amounts of data into understandable and valuable pieces of information.
What Is Breast Cancer and What Are the Signs/Symptoms?
Types of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer, like any other type of cancer, represents an uncontrolled growth of cells in the organ, in this case – the breasts. As known, cells in our bodies are programmed to replace themselves after a specific time. If mutations occur and the cell starts dividing itself without control, tumors of mutated cells form and develop. Some of the tumors are benign (not a danger to the organism), and some are malignant (potentially very dangerous).
There are many different types of breast cancer, and the type is determined by where it began and how fast it is growing and spreading. They are usually divided into three categories:
- Invasive breast cancer – The cancer cells have spread onto the surrounding breast tissue. The types are:
- Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC): This starts in the milk ducts, and it is the most common type of breast carcinoma. Almost 80 percent of breast cancers fall under this category.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC): This starts in the lobules, and it is the second most common type.
- Triple-negative breast cancer: This is an aggressive type of cancer. It tests negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors.
- Inflammatory breast cancer: A rare and aggressive type of breast cancer.
- Recurrent breast cancer: This is a cancer diagnosis that has come back months or years after treatment.
- Metastatic breast cancer: It is also called stage IV breast cancer, and at this stage, the disease has spread to other parts of the body.
- Male breast cancer: A rare type of cancer. Around one percent of men are diagnosed with this type.
- Paget disease: A rare type of breast tumor where the cells gather around the nipples.
- Non-invasive breast cancer – Cancer cells have not spread beyond the breast tissue. They are also called precancers. The types are:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): This is not a life-threatening diagnosis, but it is a precursor for invasive breast cancer.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): A benign breast condition.
- Cancerous phyllodes tumors of the breast – An infrequent diagnosis, and about 25 percent of the tumors are cancerous. All others are benign.
Stages of Breast Cancer
After a person has been diagnosed with a malignant breast tumor, i.e., cancer, the medical professionals use biopsy and imaging data to determine the stage of the disease or its so-called progression. This is done to decide what would be the most suitable and effective treatment and therapy for the patient.
The most popular and used system in determining the cancer stage is TNM (tumor, node, metastasis). This system emphasizes the size of the cancer, the level of the lymph node involvement, and how much the tumor has spread.
There are two types of staging:
- Clinical (based on results of tests prior to surgery)
- Pathological (based on what is found during surgery)
Stages of breast cancer:
- Early-stage breast cancer are stages from 0 to III:
- 0: Cancers are called carcinoma in situ, and they are DCIS, LCIS, and the Paget disease.
- I: Cancers are divided into IA and IB stages, and these are differentiated by the size of the breast tumor and the lymph nodes.
- II: The cancer is growing but is still located only in the breast. This stage is divided into IIA and IIB stages which are differentiated by the size of the breast tumor and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
- III: The cancer is not only located in the breast but still hasn’t extended to distant organs. This stage is divided into IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC stages which are differentiated by the size of the breast tumor and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and the surrounding tissue.
- Stage IV of breast cancer:
- The cancer has spread beyond the breasts to other parts of the body
- It is referred to as metastatic breast cancer
- It is not curable, but with the right treatments, it can be controlled for several years
What Causes Breast Cancer?
There are many factors that can influence the development of cancerous cells in a person’s body. As such, we can’t precisely define what causes breast cancer.
Some of them are controllable and preventable, but many of them, unfortunately, are not. Below you can find some of the most common causes of breast cancer:
- Anamnesis (family history and genes)
- Alcohol use
- Drug use
- Tobacco use
- Hormone therapy
- Exposure to radiation therapy
- Reproductive history
- Dense breasts
- No physical activity
Signs of Breast Cancer
There are many signs and symptoms of breast cancer which can be caught early on and possibly prevent developing the disease further. Some of them are:
- The size, shape, or appearance of the breast has changed
- The skin on the breast has changed
- Nipples have become inverted
- Lumps or thickenings have developed on the breast
- Swelling of the breast or armpit
- Breast skin is peeling or flaking, especially around the nipple
- Redness of the skin on the breast
- Leakage from the nipple
Stage IV cancer includes some additional symptoms:
- Swelling in the breast and armpit
- Red, dimpled skin
- Dry, flaky skin
- Shortness of breath
- Breast pain
- Nipple discharge
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Breast Cancer Prevention
Despite the fact that there are some causes of breast cancer that cannot be influenced or prevented, many others can if we make some adjustments in our daily lives.
First and foremost, and something that all specialists recommend, is the so-called self-check routine. Every month, after a woman turns 20 years of age, she should do a very simple check of her breasts. This is done to be able to catch the early signs of the potential breast cancer diagnosis.
The check is simple: TLC (touch the breasts, look for changes, check unusual changes with your general practitioner).
Some other prevention tactics are:
- Regular check-ups with the doctor
- Moderate amounts of alcohol
- Avoiding weight gain – regular exercise
- Having a healthy diet
- If taking hormone therapy – in-depth consultation with your doctor
- Preventive surgery for women with a high risk of breast cancer
- Preventative medication such as estrogen blockers for individuals in high risk
Schedule an Appointment
Our experts are here for you! Schedule a consultation or a check-up with our team of specialists and make sure that, from a young age, you are doing everything you can to prevent breast cancer!