The Different Types of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast start to grow rapidly and beyond the normal constraints of the body. These cells typically form into a tumor that can be felt as a lump or seen on a mammogram.
While this type of cancer is commonly seen in women, men can also get breast cancer.
When a biopsy is done on suspicious tissue, multiple tests will be done in order to determine how the cells look and behave, which will in turn determine the next steps in treatment.
There are different types of breast cancer but the most common types are as explored in the following:
Also abbreviated as DCIS, is a cluster of abnormal or pre-cancerous cells in the milk ducts. The abnormal cells in question are only found within the milk ducts of the breast (‘In-Situ’ meaning “in its original place”). In this form of pre-cancer, the cells have not spread, meaning that treatment is usually successful. This high success rate underscores why annual mammograms are critical to early detection and treatment.
With Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, also abbreviated as IDC, cancerous cells have grown outside their original location within the milk duct and have begun to invade the surrounding breast tissue. This is the most common type of breast cancer.
There are several subtypes of this type of breast cancer: tubular carcinoma, medullary carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma, papillary carcinoma, and cribriform carcinoma of the breast.
Lobular Carcinoma In-Situ, abbreviated as LCIS, is a cluster of pre-cancerous or abnormal cells found in the milk glands of the breast. The milk glands are located at the ends of milk ducts found within the breast.
Much like Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ, the cells have not grown outside their original location. These abnormal cells are pre-cancerous (and are often referred to as lobular neoplasia, with neoplasia meaning a collection of abnormal cells), but indicate a higher likelihood of developing breast cancer later in life.
Abbreviated as ILC, this type of breast cancer begins in the milk glands (as compared to the milk ducts) and then grows into the surrounding breast tissue.
This type of breast cancer does not often have the indicator of a lump. Instead, this type of cancer causes the skin of the breast to swell and become pitted, much like an orange peel. In fact, the description is often called “Peau d’orange” which is French for “orange peel”. The afflicted breast may also become larger, tender, or even itchy.
Because of the lack of a lump, IBC may not show up on a mammogram and fly under the radar. With this caveat, it is harder to detect IBC early on and is more likely to spread and become resistant to treatment.
Other types of breast cancer not mentioned here are male breast cancer, Paget’s Disease of the Nipple, and Phyllodes Tumors of the Breast, to name just a few.
If you have a relative that has had breast cancer, you should discuss this history with your doctor. Many patients are candidates for genetic screening, which can assess their personal risk of developing breast cancer. This typically entails a consult with a breast specialist and blood work. At WHA, we can help you set up this appointment.
Knowing the different types of breast cancer is fundamental in terms of both prevention and treatment. The more you know about the many shades of breast cancer, the more likely you are to have annual mammograms and take quick action in terms of treatment, should a biopsy be warranted.
At Women’s Healthcare Associates we have a goal to provide you with one of the best experiences in women’s care in the greater Amarillo area. Our professional Staff offers personal care that focuses on the health and well-being of our patients as individuals. Our Services include comprehensive healthcare specialized just for women, prenatal and pregnancy care, digital mammography, bone density screening, ultrasound, contraception, menopause and more. For more information about how our comprehensive women’s healthcare can help you, please give us a call at (806) 355-6330
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