Breast cancers generally arise from milk duct inner linings, or other tissues found in the breasts, and may form mammary ductal carcinomas, the most common form of breast cancer in women, that can either be Noninvasive Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, or become Malignant Invasive Ductal Carcinomas, and lobular carcinomas of glands found in the breasts, with prognosis and survival rates depending mainly on the type and stage of the cancer.
Mammary Ductal Carcinomas:
Accounting for about fifty-five percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States, and divided into several subtypes, with survival rates based on such contributing factors as cancer found in lymph nodes and small vessels, tumor size, oncogenes, hormone receptors, the probability of metastatic spread, their histological grades, and prognoses that vary from poor for Inflammatory Carcinomas and Sarcomatoid Carcinomas, to longer survival rates for papillary, cribriform, tubular, and mucinous forms of the disease, Invasive Ductal Carcinomas are masses with fine radiating spikes on their edges that feel hard and possess cancerous cells that invade and replace surrounding tissues.
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ:
Typically appearing on mammograms as tiny calcium specks, and confirmed by biopsies, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, better known as DCIS, is the most common non-invasive breast cancer and usually contains an almost one hundred percent cure rate with standard treatment methods. Forms of DCIS may include Solid Ductal Carcinoma In Situ possessing breast ducts completely filled in with cancer cells, Papillary DCIS with fern-like patterned cancer cells, and Cribriform DCIS with gaps between the cancer cells found in the breast ducts.
Malignant Invasive Ductal Carcinoma:
Beginning in the milk ducts as a hard, bumpy, irregularly-shaped lump underneath the areola, darker skin, or central portion of the breast that causes nipple retraction, spreads through duct tubes, invades surrounding tissues, and infiltrates the lymph and blood systems, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed form of breast cancer and may be classified as Stage One with no underarm lymph node involvement, Stage Two with limited lymph node involvement, Stage Three A with serious lymph node involvement, Stage Three B with metastasis to the breast skin, chest lymph nodes, or chest wall, or Stage Four Metastatic Cancer that has spread to the lungs, bones, brain, liver, and other parts of the body.
Possibly appearing as Lobular Neoplasia, Lobular Carcinoma In Situ, or Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma, without any signs or symptoms in its earliest stages, and not likely to form lumps in the breast, Lobular Carcinoma is the second most common form of invasive breast cancer, and typically produces a hard thickening of the tissues in the milk glands, with the potential to spread throughout the body in a web-like fashion. High risk factors often associated with the disease may include such things as using female hormones, progesterone steroids, and estrogen during and after menopause and the Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer Syndrome. Lobular Carcinomas may commonly occur in both breasts as well.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation lists six five-year survival stages for breast cancer patients that range from sixteen percent to one hundred percent including:
Stage O Carcinoma In Situ with atypical cells that have not spread from the milk producing organs into breast tissues and contain a one hundred percent survival rate.
Stage One Early Stage Invasive Breast Cancers that are less than one inch in size, have not spread to lymph nodes outside the breast, and carry a ninety-eight percent survival rate.
Stage Two A Breast Cancers that are smaller than two inches in size without spreading into auxiliary underarm lymph nodes, or have spread into three or less lymph nodes, and maintain an eighty-eight percent survival rate.
Stage Two B Breast Cancers that are larger than two inches in size and have not spread into any auxiliary underarm lymph nodes, or are less than two inches in size and have spread into three or less lymph nodes, and carry an eighty-eight percent survival rate.
Stage Three A Breast Cancers that are between one and two inches in size, have spread into nine or less auxiliary underarm lymph nodes, and have a fifty-six percent survival rate.
Stage Three B Breast Cancers that have metastasized to areas such as the chest wall lymph nodes, skin tissues, the ribs, the chest wall, various muscles, or above the collarbone, and have a forty-nine percent chance of survival.
Stage Four Breast Cancers that affect other organs and tissues such as the lungs, liver, brain, lymph nodes near the collarbone, or the skeletal system, and possess a sixteen percent survival rate.
While the exact causes of breast cancer remain unknown several risk factors may be involved that can increase a person’s chances of contracting the disease including their age, especially if they are fifty years old or older, recurrences of the ailment, family and patient histories, gene mutations particularly involving the BRCA1, BRCA2, and p53 human tumor suppressor genes, DNA damage-inducible GADD repair genes, the RB suppressor gene, and the HER2/NEU oncogene, estrogen, hormones, long term Estrogen Replacement Therapies, body fat, Complex Fibroadenomas, abnormal cell structures, hyperplasia, hypergenesis, alcohol consumption, radiation, pesticides, smoking cigarettes, abortions, miscarraiges, and above-average body sizes.
The many symptoms of breast cancer may include such things as redness or skin pitting over the breast, lumps or thickenings different from the surrounding tissues, inverted nipples, peeling of the nipple skin, breast size changes, dimpling of the skin over the breast, armpit lymph node swelling, and persistent tenderness of the breast.
Women should perform breast self-examinations monthly and receive breast mammograms anually. Other methods of diagnosing breast cancer may include Clinical Breast Exams, ultrasounds, Imaging Studies, breast MRIs, elastographies that can detect cancerous lumps without the need for biopsies, Ductal Lavage Screenings, known as the “pap smear for the breasts,” lump aspirations, breast biopsies, and HALO Nipple Discharge Tests for precancerous cells.
This Article was compiled from several websites that provide much more information about breast cancers including:
nationalbreastcancer.org (the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s website)