The breast is composed of a variety of tissues, from extremely fatty tissue to extremely dense tissue. There is a network of lobes within this tissue. Each lobe is composed of lobules, which are tiny, tube-like structures that house milk glands. Milk is transported from the lobes to the nipple via tiny ducts that connect the glands, lobules, and lobes. The areola, the darker region that encircles the nipple, contains the nipple in the centre.
Additionally, the breast is covered in lymphatic and blood arteries. By bringing oxygen and nutrition to the cells as well as eliminating waste and carbon dioxide, blood arteries nurture the cells. Unlike blood arteries, lymph vessels only transport fluid away from tissues. They join the lymphatic system, which removes bodily waste, and the lymph nodes. The tiny, bean-shaped organs known as lymph nodes aid in the defence against infection. The body has several locations for groups of lymph nodes, including the neck, groyne, and abdomen. Regional lymph nodes of the breast are those that are close to the breast, such as the axillary lymph nodes under the arm.
What is a breast cancer?
Healthy cells in the breast begin to alter and expand out of control to form a tumour, which is a mass or sheet of cells. A tumour may be benign or malignant. Malignant refers to the ability of a cancerous tumour to develop and metastasize to different body regions. A benign tumour is one that is still growing and has not yet spread.
Breast cancer can spread through the blood vessels and/or lymph nodes to places including the bones, lungs, liver, and brain. Though it most frequently travels to surrounding lymph nodes, in which case it is still regarded as a local or regional disease.
This is the most advanced stage of the illness and is known as metastatic or stage IV breast cancer. The presence of adjacent lymph nodes alone, however, does not typically indicate stage IV breast cancer.
After initial therapy, breast cancer may return locally, which refers to the same breast and/or nearby lymph nodes. Additionally, it may return in another location on the body; this is known as a distant or metastatic recurrence.
DIfferent types of breast cancer
Breast cancer comes in a variety of forms, each of which can be described in a variety of ways. It’s simple to become perplexed. The specific breast cells that develop into cancer dictate the type of breast cancer.
The types of breast cancer are generally classified into two categories i.e. Invasive cancer and Non-ivasive cancer.
Noninvasive (in-situ) types of breast cancer
Breast cancer cells that are in situ are non-invasive and stay in one area of the breast without spreading to neighbouring tissue, lobules, or ducts.
In situ breast cancer refers to cancer that only affects the milk ducts or lobules. Ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma are the two forms of in situ malignancies.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
The ACS estimates that 20% of newly discovered breast tumours fall into the DCIS category. A lump that develops in a milk duct, which transports milk from lobules, or glands, to the nipple, is the beginning of DCIS. There isn’t any body-wide spread of a DCIS. The likelihood that the tumour will eventually penetrate the ductal walls and enter the breast’s surrounding fat and tissue increases with time. However, thanks to improvements in diagnosis and therapy, the majority of women with DCIS, also known as stage 0 breast cancer, benefit from treatment.
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
Technically speaking, an LCIS is not a type of cancer but rather an alteration in the breast. To create breast milk, the breast has tens of thousands of tiny clusters called lobules. These lobules may develop cells that resemble cancer cells. LCIS usually stays put and doesn’t spread. Your care team may want to watch you in order to quickly address any changes because LCIS increases your chance for developing invasive breast cancer.
Invasive types of breast cancer
The majority of breast cancers are invasive, which means the disease has progressed from the primary site to surrounding breast tissue, lymph nodes, or other parts of the body.
Breast cancer cells that are invasive (infiltrating) breach the protective boundaries of healthy breast tissue and disseminate to other parts of the body via the circulation and lymph nodes. The two most prevalent kinds of invasive breast cancer are Invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma.
Invasive ductal carcinoma
Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most prevalent kind of breast cancer, accounting for around 70–80 percent of all occurrences (IDC). IDC is a cancer that begins in a milk duct and spreads to other breast tissues. Milk ducts are the tubes in the breast that bring milk to the nipple. It may eventually expand farther, or metastatically, to other bodily regions.
Invasive lobular carcinoma
The second most frequent kind of breast cancer is invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), which makes up between 5 and 10 percent of all cases. Breast tissue nearby is first affected by ILC, which originates in the lobules (where breast milk is produced). It might spread laterally like IDC. In contrast to IDC, this cancer is more difficult to find on mammograms and other tests. Both breasts are afflicted by ILC in one out of every five women.
Inflammatory breast cancer
Compared to other types of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer has a tendency to spread more quickly and can be found in the ducts or lobules. According to the NCI, this fast-moving, aggressive illness accounts for 1 to 5 percent of breast cancer cases in the country. Its name comes from the inflammatory symptoms it produces, which typically include redness and swelling on the breast’s surface.
Due to these symptoms, a breast infection is frequently misdiagnosed. According to the American Cancer Society, one in three patients with this type of cancer do not receive a diagnosis until the disease has spread to other parts of the body and is at an advanced stage. Inflammatory breast cancer has a decreased survival rate due to these factors.
Paget’s disease of the breast
Paget’s disease of the breast, sometimes called Paget’s disease of the nipple, is a far less typical form of breast cancer. According to the NCI, it primarily affects patients who have been diagnosed with another breast cancer at a ratio of 1 to 4%. Paget cells, a particular type of tumour cell, are produced as it progresses in the skin of the nipple and areola.
Angiosarcoma of the breast
Breast cancer called angiosarcoma develops in the lining of lymphatic or blood vessels. According to the NCI, it is uncommon, making up just 1 to 2 percent of all sarcomas (including those found elsewhere in the body). Angiosarcoma can affect anyone, however it most frequently affects adults over the age of 70.
It frequently results from side effects of radiation therapy to the breast, but it may take up to eight or ten years before it does. Angiosarcoma is a fast-growing kind of cancer that frequently isn’t discovered until it has spread to other parts of the body.
Phyllodes tumours are uncommon and develop in the breast’s connective tissues. Despite the fact that it can afflict patients of any age, this form of tumour primarily affects women in their 40s. This kind of tumour is more common in people with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, an inherited genetic disorder. The ACS estimates that 25 percent of phyllodes tumours are malignant.
Adenoid cystic carcinoma, low-grade adenosquamous carcinoma, medullary carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma, papillary carcinoma, and tubular carcinoma are further, even more uncommon varieties of invasive breast cancer.
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