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Breast cancer, a dangerous ailment and one of the major causes of death in women especially in the US, is known to affect over 2 million over all over the world every year. The deaths caused by breast cancer has however reduced, thanks to recent early detection methods and understanding of the ailment. In this article, you would learn the major types of breast cancer and their signs. This will enable you to identify them quickly for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Breast cancer begins most times from the ducts(the tiny tube that transports milk from the lobules to the nipples) or from the cells of the lobules (the gland where milk is produced). Breast cancer may stay in the lobules or ducts in the breast or spread outside, this is the basis for the two major categories of breast cancer which are non-invasive breast cancer and invasive breast cancer.
Non-invasive breast cancers do not spread beyond the milk ducts or lobules. They can be carcinoma in-situ because they are found to stay in one place. They are sometimes not regarded as true breast cancers and are called “pre-cancers” because they show the chances of developing a more serious type.
Invasive breast cancers spread out into other tissues, this is the case for most types of breast cancer.
Types of breast cancer and their signs
1. Ductal Carcinoma In situ
This is a type of non-invasive breast cancer. It begins from the milk ducts and does not spread out of the milk duct. DCIS may not lead to death but it could raise the risks of getting an invasive breast cancer later in life. People who had ductal carcinoma in situ have high chances of being affected with another breast cancer type again. For such people, the other breast cancer usually comes within five to ten years.
Ductal Carcinoma usually comes with no symptoms. Few people only may notice unusual discharge from their nipples or a lump.
2. Invasive ductal carcinoma
IDC is a type of invasive breast cancer which starts in the milk ducts but spreads to surrounding tissues. After a while, IDC may also spread to lymph nodes and other areas of the body. It is the commonest type of breast cancer in women.
When invasive ductal breast cancer starts, there may be no symptoms but as it spreads, it shows up as a lump in the breast that can be felt. It can also show up with skin dimpling, breast pain, inverted nipples, nipple discharge, swelling of the breast or lump in the armpit.
3. Lobular Carcinoma In situ
LCIS starts growing in the lobules but does not spread to tissues surrounding. It usually affects more than one lobule. It usually affects women before menopause. Women who have gone past menopause have lesser chances of developing this type of breast cancer.
LCIS usually does not show on a mammogram and may not have any sign or symptoms.
4. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma
ILC is the second most common breast cancer in women. It starts in the lobules and spread to the surrounding breast tissues, it can also spread later on to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. Lobular carcinoma affects women of any age but the risks grows with age.
Symptoms of Invasive lobular carcinoma includes redness or thickening of breast skin or nipples, unusual nipple discharge, a lump or swelling in the armpit, breast pain, skin dimpling etc.
5. Inflammatory breast cancer
It is an aggressive type of cancer. It occurs rarely but when it does, it grows and spreads quickly.
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer grows and shows up quickly. They usually start with a person feeling heaviness of the breasts. Other symptoms include swelling of the breast, redness, swelling of lymph nodes, “orange peel” texture of the breast, inverted nipples, breast pain or tenderness.
6. Metastatic breast cancer
It is also called stage IV breast cancer. It is a type that spreads to other parts of the body. The liver, bones, lungs or brain are usually the most affected organs. The cancer cells travels to these other body parts through the blood or the lymphatic system. People who develop metastatic breast cancer are people who have had another type of breast cancer before which wasn’t detected early.
The symptoms of metastatic breast cancer usually varies depending on the part of the body it spreads to.
7. Paget’s disease of the nipple
This is a rare type which occurs around the nipple. It usually starts from the ducts of the nipple and spread later to the surface. The nipples becomes red, itchy and scaly.
The symptoms include a burning sensation, nipple flattening, yellow or bloody red discharge from the nipple.
8. Breast cancer during pregnancy
This is not caused by pregnancy as you may think. It can cause worries and stress for the pregnant woman even though it is impossible for the cancer to spread to the unborn baby. It is usually not safe to perform surgery during pregnancy, so doctors would rather prefer to remove the lump through processes like mastectomy or lumpectomy.
Detecting breast cancer signs by their types may be difficult for you, you also need to the general signs and symptoms which covers all types. You should also do all you can to stay healthy always and prevent diseases. As they say, prevention is better than cure. Read here – “How to prevent breast cancer”.
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