Breast Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), one in eight women who live to be age 80 will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. This makes the disease the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women, after skin cancer. NCI estimates that 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States in 2009.


One in four cancers diagnosed in the United States is breast cancer, yet women are not the only ones receiving the diagnosis. Although the incidence of breast cancer is much less common among men, approximately 1,700 American men learn they have breast cancer each year.


Breast cancer is one of the most highly publicized cancers in the media today. Local and national breast cancer awareness events are reminders of its prevalence. Many of us know someone who previously had or is currently battling breast cancer. Fortunately, advancements in breast cancer research provide new treatment options and technologies for those battling the disease.


There are several different types of breast cancer. To determine the best approach to treating the disease, your doctor will first evaluate the specifics of the breast tumor, including: (1) if the disease has spread beyond the breast, and (2) the type of tissue where the disease began.


Has the Breast Cancer Spread?


In situ (noninvasive) breast cancer: Cancerous cells remain in a particular location of the breast,
without spreading to surrounding tissue, lobules or ducts.


Infiltrating (invasive) breast cancer: Cancerous cells break through normal breast tissue barriers and spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymph nodes.

Where In The Breast Did Cancer Arise?


Ductal carcinoma:  Cancer that begins in the cells of the ducts (tubes that carry breast milk from the lobules to the nipple). This is the most common breast cancer type.


Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): Cancerous cells lie solely within the lining of the milk ducts, and haven't spread through the duct walls into surrounding breast tissue. If DCIS lesions are left untreated, over time cancer cells may break through the duct and  spread to nearby tissue, becoming an invasive breast cancer.


Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC): Cancerous cells grow in the duct lining, break through the wall of the duct and invade local breast tissue. From there, the cancer may spread  (metastasize) to other parts of the body.


Lobular carcinoma:  Cancer that begins in the lobes or lobules (glands that make breast milk). The lobules are connected to the ducts, which carry breast milk to the nipple.


Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): This type of cancer begins in the lobules and does not typically spread through the wall of the lobules to the surrounding breast tissue or other parts of the body. While these abnormal cells seldom become invasive cancer, their presence indicates an increased risk of developing breast cancer later.


Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC): Cancer starts in the lobules, invades nearby tissue and can spread (metastasize) to distant parts of the body. This breast cancer type accounts for about 1 out of 10 invasive breast cancers.


Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC): A rare and aggressive type of breast cancer that often starts within the soft tissues of the breast and causes the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast to become blocked. IBC accounts for about 1 to 5 percent of all breast cancers in the United States, and afflicts younger women more than other breast cancer types.


Paget’s disease of the nipple:  A rare type of cancer that begins in the breast ducts (milk-carrying tubes) and spreads to the skin of the nipple and areola (dark circle of skin around the nipple), which may result in scaly, red, itchy or irritated skin in these areas.


Sarcoma of the breast: Breast cancer that begins in the connective tissues, such as muscle tissue, fat tissue or blood vessels. This type of breast cancer is rare. Examples include phyllodes tumor and angiosarcoma.

Some other types of breast cancer include: medullary carcinoma, tubular carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma, papillary carcinoma, metaplastic carcinoma, adenocystic carcinoma and triple-negative breast cancer.