January 18, 2012
Breast cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that forms in the tissues of one or both breasts. Although breast cancer primarily affects women, it can also occur in children and men. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States. “ACS estimated that 261,100 new cases of breast cancer (in situ and invasive cancers) were diagnosed among women in this country in 2010. Breast cancer affects one in eight women. It can be a highly curable disease if detected and treated early. Early detection is the key to treating and curing breast cancer. Many women regularly examine their breasts to look for common warning signs. These include:
* A painless lump in the breast
* Abnormal thickening of the breast tissue
* A change in the density of the breast
Less often, breast cancer can ...view middle of the document...
There is also lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): (also called lobular neoplasia) Cancer that begins in the lobes or lobules of the breast. This type is situ cancer is more likely than other types of breast cancer to be found in both breasts. Both types of situ cancers can become invasive if left untreated.
Some examples of invasive breast cancers include Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC): which begins in a duct in the breast and breaks through into the surrounding fatty tissue of the breast. From there, IDC can metastasize to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. About 80 percent of invasive breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas, also called infiltrating ductal carcinomas. Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC): (infiltrating lobular carcinoma) is the second most common type of invasive breast cancer. ILC starts in the lobules and, like IDC, can spread to other parts of the body. Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC): This is a rare type of breast cancer, affecting only 1 to 3 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer. IBC may begin in either the ducts or the lobules. It is very aggressive and progresses rapidly, making the breast red, swollen and warm to the touch. The surface of the breast may look pitted like the skin of an orange because the cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin.
There are several risk factors for breast cancer, many of which you cannot change. These include gender, age, menstrual periods, personal history of breast cancer, family history of breast cancer, genetics, race and ethnicity, and previous radiation therapy. Some lifestyle risk factors that you can control include obesity, alcohol intake, hormone replacement therapy, and delayed childbirth.
Talking to your doctor about regular self breast exams and other preventative measures can be the difference between losing a breast, and losing your life.
"Breast Cancer Symptoms." Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, 10 Aug. 2011. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. <http://www.seattlecca.org/diseases/breast-cancer-symptoms.cfm>.
"Breast Cancer - PubMed Health." Breast Cancer. A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, 28 Dec. 2010. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001911/>.