Breast Cancer Types
Breast Cancer - 101
By Vinodh Pushparaj
The cancer is a term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably invading near by tissue and
spreading to other parts of the body via blood stream or lymphatic system.
Similarly, in breast cancer, a single cell begins to divide and grow abnormally. This is the most common kind of
cancer in women. Besides being women, age is the other important factor for developing breast cancer. The breast is
made up of lobes and ducts. Each breast has 15 to 20 sections called lobes, which have many smaller sections called
lobules. Lobules end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can produce milk. The lobes, lobules, and bulbs are linked by
thin tubes called ducts.
The breast cancer is classified into:
-Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
-Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
-Inflammatory breast cancer
-Recurrent breast cancer
The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma, which begins in the cells of the ducts. Cancer that
begins in the lobes or lobules is called lobular carcinoma and is more often found in both breasts than are other
types of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is an uncommon type of breast cancer in which the breast is
warm, red, and swollen. Recurrent breast cancer that has come back after it has been treated. Early detection
through regular breast self-exams and a regular program of mammogram and physical exams show excellent results in
curing it. Breast self exam is the process developed by the American cancer society for women to examine the
breasts monthly. This process can reveal breast problem. Any swelling or unusual lumps or hardness in the breast is
the indication of breast disease and a reason to rush to your doctor.
There are various factors, which increases the chance of getting disease as a breast cancer. Like:
1) Older age
2) A mother or sister with breast cancer.
3) Drinking alcoholic beverages.
4) Being white.
5) Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest.
Women who have an altered gene related to breast cancer and who have had breast cancer in one breast have an
increased risk of developing breast cancer in the other breast. These women also have an increased risk of
developing ovarian cancer, and may have an increased risk of developing other cancers.
Tests related to detect and diagnose breast cancer are:
1) Mammogram – In which X ray is done of the breast.
2) Biopsy - The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check
for signs of cancer. If a lump in the breast is found, the doctor may need to cut out a small piece of the
3) Estrogen and progesterone receptor test: A test to measure the amount of estrogen and progesterone (hormones)
receptors in cancer tissue. If cancer is found in the breast, tissue from the tumor is examined in the laboratory
to find out whether estrogen and progesterone could affect the way cancer grows. The test results show whether
hormone therapy may stop the cancer from growing.
There are different 4 types of treatment option for breast cancer patients:
1) Surgery- Most patients with breast cancer have surgery to remove the cancer from the breast.
2) Radiation therapy - Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of
radiation to kill cancer cells.
3) Chemotherapy -Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either
by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing.
4) Hormone therapy - Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that removes hormones or blocks their action and
stops cancer cells from growing. Hormones are substances produced by glands in the body and circulated in the
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