Understanding The Different Types of Breast Cancer
Now is the perfect time to share information about breast cancer that is important to the health of all women. In October, organizations around the globe seek to educate and raise awareness about the diagnosis, treatment, early detection, and treatment of breast cancer. One of every eight women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. It is nearly impossible to find someone who has not had at least one friend or relative who has faced this dreadful disease.
We will share information with you about some different types of breast cancer. But first, some keywords and phrases are helpful to understanding breast cancers.
- Ductal- means that the cancer cells grow in the milk ducts
- In Situ- means that the cells are confined to their “original site.”
- Invasive- means the breast cancer cells have moved, invaded, or spread beyond the original site.
- Carcinoma- is any cancer, including breast cancer, that begins in the skin or other tissues that cover or line the internal organs.
Many of these words appear over and over again when discussing cancer. Understanding what they mean can help you decipher the names of different types of cancer.
What Are Some Of The Most Common Breast Cancer Types?
DCIS-Ductal Carcinoma In Situ
DCIS is non-invasive breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts and has not spread elsewhere. DCIS is often treatable and usually not life-threatening but increases the risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
IDC-Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
IDC is the most common type of breast cancer, accounting for 80 percent of all cases. It begins in cells that line the milk ducts and spreads to nearby breast tissue outside the ducts. IDC can easily and quickly spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
There are several types of invasive ductal carcinomas that are categorized by the shape and other characteristics of specific tumors.
ILC-Invasive Lobular Carcinoma
ILC is the second most common type of breast cancer. ILC accounts for about ten percent of all breast cancers. Unlike IDC, when you have ILC, the breast cancer cells begin to grow in the lobules which produce breast milk. (The lobules empty into the milk duct, which carries the milk to your nipple.)
Invasive lobular breast cancer, also called infiltrating lobular carcinoma, means that cancer cells have broken through the lobular walls and invaded surrounding breast tissue and potentially lymph nodes and other body parts.
LCIS- Lobular Carcinoma In Situ
LCIS is not true breast cancer, despite its name. LCIS indicates that there are groups of abnormal cells growing in the lobules of the breast. However, no cells have spread outside the lobules. The condition is usually an indicator that you are at a fairly high risk of developing breast cancer in the future.
LCIS is common and often undiagnosed. Sometimes, LCIS is discovered after a breast biopsy for an unrelated issue.
IBC-Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Unlike most breast cancers, IBC usually does not present as a distinct, individual lump in the breast. Instead, it appears as swelling and reddening of the breast. IBC can spread and grow quickly and is a fairly rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. It requires prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Triple-negative breast cancer comprises cells that are negative for three hormone receptors: progesterone receptors, estrogen receptors, and excess HER2 protein. This means that breast cancer is not growing because of hormones and, therefore, will not respond to hormone therapy or medicine that targets the HER2 protein. Other medications can treat triple-negative breast cancer.
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic breast cancer is that which has spread to other parts of the body. It is also called stage IV breast cancer. If you do not catch breast cancer before it spreads to your lymph nodes and other parts of the body, your initial diagnosis might be metastatic breast cancer. Otherwise, you might discover later that breast cancer has spread to your liver, brain, bones, or lungs.
Other Breast Cancers
Some other types of breast cancer include:
- Male breast cancer
- Paget’s disease of the nipple
- Phyllodes tumors
- Recurrent breast cancer
- Mucinous carcinoma
- Medullary carcinoma
- Tubular carcinoma
How Do You Treat Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer can often be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy.
Surgery to treat breast cancers confined within the breast may include either a lumpectomy or removal of the entire breast (mastectomy).
Radiation therapy might be used before or surgery to shrink tumors or afterward to kill any stray cancer cells that might be lingering.
Chemotherapy uses medications to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be administered orally or through an IV port. Some chemotherapy drugs are also used to decrease the risk of a breast cancer recurrence.
Success often depends on several factors, including the breast cancer type, the stage, if it has invaded normal breast tissue, whether cancer cells have entered the lymph vessels, and more. Hopefully, if you have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer, you and your doctor can find an effective treatment that will result in many years of good health.
Send a Breast Cancer Gift Basket
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we hope this article has taught you something about the different types of breast cancers facing women worldwide. If you know someone with breast cancer, now is a perfect time to let them know you care. Chemotherapy and radiation gift baskets are packed with the essentials needed to ease side effects of treatment, as well as enhance physical and mental well-being. See all of our cancer care packages and find the one that best supports their journey.