Yesterday’s Breast Cancer Awareness article’s personal story was of a woman in her forties when diagnosed. However, I felt it so important to share that breast cancer has no “age boundaries” and included information about younger women. It just so happens that my cousin, Andrea L., had responded to my facebook plea for any personal stories. She had one to share with us all. Andrea:
On May 2, 1991 I gave birth to my 2nd child JP. My friend Jeanette was also pregnant at the same time and gave birth to her 2nd child on May 8, 1991. Soon after she noticed a lump in her breast, not unusual after having a baby. Unfortunately it turned out to be a very large, fast growing cancerous lesion. Within a the year she had undergone a radical mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. She continued to heal and “fight” the cancer but unfortunately by the following Jan (1993) the cancer returned in the remaining breast. My dear friend passed away before celebrating her new childs’ 2nd birthday @ the tender age of 24. I realized at that moment that if she could pass away @ such a tender age with so much in front of her, that so could I or my husband. I began to pursue my hearts desire of becoming a nurse. This not only fufilled a desire but also would allow a way for me, if needed, to support my family. She is in my thoughs often and was a great influence on what I became, even in her absence.”
I am so sorry to hear of any loss, especially that of someone so young. However, in her time here, Jeanette had touched many lives, and as you can see, especially my cousin’s.
Different Types Of Breast Cancer
There are different types and different places you can get breast cancer. These differences are what the doctor uses in deciding what type of treatment the patient needs. There is in situ breast cancer which means noninvasive. That means it has not spread to any surrounding tissue. Then there is invasive breast cancer. These cancers develop outside of the ducts and often spreads to the tissue around the lesion and can even be carried to other parts of your body.
1) Ductal carcinoma in situ-The most common form of in situ cancer is ductal carcinoma or DCIS. This forms in the ducts that carry the milk to the nipples.
2) Invasive ductal carcinoma-This is a common form of breast cancer, acounting for around 70% of cases. This form spreads through the breast instead of staying contained like DCIS.
Subtypes of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma or IDS:
2A) Medullary Carcinoma-This type accounts for about 3-5% of all cases of breast cancer. This occurs more often in women who have a BRCA1 mutation. The cancer cells in this subtype appear to be aggressive in the lab, but it is actually a slower less aggressive form.
2B) Tubular Carcinoma- A type of invasive ductal carcinoma accounting for about 1-2% of breast cancers. The tumor of this form is typically small and tends to not move to other parts of the breast.
2C) Mucinous Carcinoma-Another rare breast cancer accounting for around 2-3% of all breast cancers. This is usually found during a self exam or clinical breast exam.
3)Inflammatory Breast Cancer-Cancer cells cause a blockage of the lymphatic vessels. This is a rare but fast moving breast cancer. Many young women that are diagnosed with breast cancer unfortunately have this kind.
4) Paget’s disease of the nipple-“Paget disease of the nipple, also called Paget disease of the breast, is an uncommon type of cancer that forms in or around the nipple”
5) Papillary Carcinoma of the Breast-very rare, making up 1-2% of invasive breast cancers. Not one of the faster growing breast cancers. The problem, besides the obvious, with this type of breast cancer is that most patients that have invasive papillary carcinomas also have ductal carcinoma in situ as well.
6) Lobular carcinoma in situ-This disease starts in the lobules. These lobules produce the milk which is then carried in the milk ducts to the nipple. Despite the name having carcinoma in it, it is not actually a cancer, but it is a sign that the person is at very high risk for breast cancer later.
7) Invasive lobular carcinoma-Second most common form of invasive breast cancer after IDC (#2). This breast cancer begins in the lobules but spread through the breast and possibly through the body.
Subtypes of Invasive Lobular Carcinoma or ILC-
7A) Solid-Grows in “Sheets”
7B) Alveolar-Grows in groups of 20 or more.
7C) Tubulolobular-Grows in tube-like structures.
7D) Pleomorphic-The cells appear larger than is typically found in ILC.
7E) Signet ring cell-Appear filled with mucus which pushes the nucleus to one side.
8) Cribriform Carcinoma of the Breast-A connective tissues cancer of the breast. This type of breast cancer typically forms between the milk ducts and lobules.
I’m sure there’s even more that I did not find, but I tried to be as extensive as possible. As you all can see there are numerous types of breast cancer, therefore one breast cancer patient may have a completely different treatment than the next. Remember, stay aware and remind others to be as well. Don’t forget your male loved ones and friends as they too can get breast cancer.