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Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

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Published by Nkoli Ogbolu

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Published by: Nkoli Ogbolu on May 13, 2012
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05/13/2012

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, aside from skin cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 192,3 70 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the United States this year. An estimated 40,170 women are expected to die fr om the disease in 2009 alone. Today, there are about 2.5 million breast cancer s urvivors living in the United States. If you're worried about developing breast cancer, or if you know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease, one way to deal with your concerns is to get a s much information as possible. In this section you'll find important background information about what breast cancer is and how it develops. Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in one or both of the breasts. Bre ast cancer usually develops in the ducts or lobules, also known as the milk-prod ucing areas of the breast. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women (after lung c ancer). Although African-American women have a slightly lower incidence of breas t cancer after age 40 than Caucasian women, they have a slightly higher incidenc e rate of breast cancer before age 40. However, African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age. Breast cancer is much less common in males; by comparison, the disease is about 100 times more common among women . According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1,910 new cases of inva sive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among men in the United States i n 2009. Types of breast cancer There are several different types of breast cancer that can be divided into two main categories - noninvasive cancers and invasive cancers. Noninvasive cancer m ay also be called "carcinoma in situ." Noninvasive breast cancers are confined t o the ducts or lobules and they do not spread to surrounding tissues. The two ty pes of noninvasive breast cancers are ductal carcinoma in situ (referred to as D CIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (referred to as LCIS). It is known that hormones in a woman's body, such as estrogen and progesterone, can play a role in the development of breast cancer. In breast cancer, estrogen causes a doubling of cancer cells every 36 hours. The growing tumor needs to inc rease its blood supply to provide food and oxygen. Progesterone seems to cause s tromal cells (the woman's own cells to send out signals for more blood supply to feed the tumor. (Source: Dr. V. Craig Jordan, vice president and scientific dir ector for the medical science division at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphi a as quoted in NY Times, Hormones And Cancer: By Gina Kolata, Published: Decembe r 26, 2006) •Non-invasive breast cancer. The majority of non-invasive breast cancers are DCIS. In DCIS, the cancer cells are found only in the milk duct of the breast. If DCI S is not treated, it may progress to invasive cancer. In LCIS, the abnormal cells are found only in the lobules of the breast. Unlike DCIS, LCIS is not considered to be a cancer. It is more like a warning sign of i ncreased risk of developing an invasive breast cancer in the same or opposite br east. While LCIS is a risk factor for invasive cancer, it doesn't actually devel op into invasive breast cancer in many women. •Invasive breast cancer. Invasive or infiltrating breast cancers penetrate through normal breast tissue (such as the ducts and lobules) and invade surrounding are as. They are more serious than noninvasive cancers because they can spread to ot her parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, lungs, and brain.

Not all breast cancers are alike Not all breast cancers are alike . means a more advanced can cer. In Stage I. There are differences in the various types of in vasive breast cancer. The cancer has spread to underarm lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other struc tures. •Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): This is the most common type of noninvasive brea st cancer. knowing the stage of breast cancer is the most important factor in choo sing among treatment options. •The tumor is larger than 5 centimeters (2 inches).Stage I is an early stage of invasive breast cancer.Stage III may be a large tumor. For doctor and patient.Stage II is one of the following: •The tumor in the breast is no more than 2 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch) across. the lower the number. A higher number. DCIS sometimes becomes invasive cancer if not treated. These are the stages of breast cancer: Stage 0 . B. and whether it has spread to distant organs (metastasis). LCIS seldom becomes invasive c ancer.there are different stages of breast cancer b ased on the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread. Stage II . •Stage IIIB . and C. All of this information is then combined in a process called stage grouping. The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm. Some of the stages are further sub-divided u sing the letters A. Stage I . •Stage IIIA . but the cancer has not spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes. DCIS is also called intraductal carcinoma. Doctors use a physical exam. After stage 0 (carcinoma in situ). The most common type is inva sive ductal carcinoma. however. Stages of Breast Cancer The most common system used to describe the stages of breast cancer is the AJCC/ TNM (American Joint Committee on Cancer/Tumor-Nodes-Metastases) system. biopsy. whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes. early stage cancer that is confined to t he ducts or the lobules. It is locally advanced cancer.Stage 0 is carcinoma in situ. The cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes under the arm. and other tes ts to determine breast cancer stage. ◦The tumor is more than 5 centimeters across. depending on where it started. The stage is expressed as a Roman numeral. when abnormal cells are in the lining of a duct. cance r cells have not spread beyond the breast and the tumor is no more than 2 centim eters (three-quarters of an inch) across. The cancer has not spread to t he lymph nodes under the arm. It has not gone into the tissues in the breast nor spread to other organs in the body.There are several kinds of invasive breast cancers. •The tumor is between 2 and 5 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch to 2 inches).Stage IIIA is one of the following: ◦The tumor in the breast is smaller than 5 centimeters (2 inches). In general. but the treatment options are similar for all of them. •Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): This condition begins in the milk-making glands but does not go through the wall of the lobules. having LCIS in one breast increases the risk of cancer for both breasts. This sys tem takes into account the tumor size and spread.Stage IIIB is one of the following: . the o ther stages are I through IV (1-4). the less the can cer has spread. The cancer has spread to the underar m lymph nodes. such as stage IV (4). which appears in the ducts and accounts for about 80 perc ent of all breast cancer cases. Stage III .

◦The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under or above the collarbone. It may recur locally in the br east or chest wall as another primary cancer.Stage IIIC is a tumor of any size.◦The tumor has grown into the chest wall or the skin of the breast. such as the bone. liver. •Stage IIIC . It has spread in one of the follo wing ways: ◦The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes behind the breastbone and under the arm. ◦The cancer has spread to lymph nodes behind the breastbone. or lungs. ◦Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of Stage IIIB breast cancer. Resources: American Cancer Society Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Cancer Institute .Recurrent cancer is cancer that has come back (recurred) afte r a period of time when it could not be detected.Stage IV is distant metastatic cancer. or it may recur in any other part of the body. The cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Recurrent cancer . The breast looks red and swollen because cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. which is generally referred to a s metastatic cancer. Stage IV .

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