Cancer originates when cells begin to grow uncontrollably, far exceeding normal cells, conglomerating with each other and forming a kind of mass called a tumor, which can be benign or malignant. Still, when it comes to cancer, the tumor is always malignant. The body is made up of cells, so cancer can appear anywhere in the body and even spread to other areas.
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that begins in the tissues of the breast. This type of cancer can affect both men and women, but it is the most common among women since, according to the World Health Organization, it represents 16% of all female cancers. If you want to know more about this condition, we invite you to continue reading this FastlyHealarticle about breast cancer: types, symptoms, and treatment.
Causes of breast cancer
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and although there are some aspects of our lives that we can change to prevent it, there are factors that cannot be modified and are associated with an increased risk of suffering from this disease. Let’s see what the causes of breast cancer are:
- Age and sex. Although we already know that women are at a higher risk of developing this disease, this probability increases with age. Women age 50 and older are more likely to get breast cancer.
- Family history. People with family members who have had breast cancer are more likely to develop this condition.
- Defective genes. If one of the parents passes on a defective gene, there is a greater chance of developing breast cancer. This type of defect is more common in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes, and when a woman has this risk, the probability of developing breast cancer at some point in her life is 80%.
- Menstrual cycle. Women who developed before age 12 or had menopause after age 55 also have a higher risk of breast cancer.
Other risk factors for breast cancer:
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages. Daily consumption of alcohol (2 drinks a day) increases the risk of suffering from this condition.
- Part. Women who have never had a child and become pregnant after age 30 are more likely to develop breast cancer.
- Hormone therapy. Hormone therapy with estrogens also increases the risk.
- Obesity. This condition has always been associated with breast cancer, and although the relationship is not known for sure, it is believed that it is because overweight women produce more estrogens.
- Radiation. Those who have received radiation therapy have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Suppose radiation therapy was carried out during breast development. The trouble is more severe since it increases depending on how young the person was at the radiation time and the dose.
Symptoms of breast cancer
The main reason campaigns are carried out worldwide that promote monthly breast self-examination, and annual mammography after the age of 35 is that initial breast cancer has no symptoms. The key to curing this disease is early diagnosis. Therefore, the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the higher the life expectancy.
As cancer progresses and the tumor grows, the following symptoms may appear:
- Lump in one of the breasts or armpits (breast lump) that feels very hard, painless, and has uneven edges.
- Changes in the size, shape, or texture of the nipple or breasts. Redness, holes, orange peel skin.
- The fluid on the nipple may be clear, yellowish, greenish, or pus-like.
When the cancer is advanced, the person may experience:
- Bone pain.
- Breast tenderness, pain, or discomfort.
- They are swelling the lymph nodes in the armpit near the breast where the tumor is located.
- Skin ulcers
Types of breast cancer
Although breast cancer is the proliferation of malignant cells that have become cancerous tumors, there are different types of breast cancer, most of which are carcinomas. Let’s see:
- Ductal carcinoma occurs in the ducts that carry milk from the breast nipple. Most breast cancers are of the ductal carcinoma type.
- Lobular carcinoma occurs in a part of the breast called lobules, responsible for milk production.
This is the original classification that serves to define the types of cancer. However, each of these types of breast carcinoma can present in different kinds of tumors:
Carcinoma ductal in situ
It is considered a type of non-invasive breast cancer since, although the cells that line the duct have changed and appear cancerous, they have not expanded into the tissue surrounding the breast. Therefore it cannot spread and cannot do metastasis. One in five breast cancer diagnoses is due to ductal carcinoma in situ.
Carcinoma ductal invasivo
It is the most common of the types of breast cancer. It occurs in one of the breast ducts and penetrates until it reaches the breast tissue, where it can spread to the bloodstream or lymph nodes. 8 out of 10 invasive breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinoma.
Invasive lobulillar carcinoma
It begins in the lobules, the milk-producing glands, and can spread to the breast tissue. It isn’t easy to detect in a mammogram. One in 10 breast cancers is an invasive lobular carcinoma.
Inflammatory breast cancer
It is invasive cancer but a rare one. The main symptom is the redness and warmth of the skin of the breast; it can also produce an appearance on the skin like orange peel, symptoms that are due to a blockage made by cancer cells in the lymphatic vessels of the skin. This cancer can also cause itching, breast growth, and tenderness. Many specialists confuse it with mastitis (breast infection) due to the absence of a tumor mass. However, it is necessary to be persistent in the integrity of the diagnosis because this type of cancer is one of those with the most extraordinary power to spread.
Paget’s disease of the nipple
It begins in the mammary ducts and expands to the nipple, where it continues to advance to the areola of the breast, which may present redness, scabs, scales, sacred, or suppuration. It represents 1% of the world’s breast cancers.
Breast cancer treatment
The treatment of breast cancer varies according to many factors, including the type of cancer, the extent of cancer sensitivity to hormones, or, if it occurs in the body, a gene called HER2 / neu. However, the most common breast cancer treatments are:
- Chemotherapy. Administration of drugs that destroy cells.
- Radiotherapy. Radiation is applied to the breast to destroy cancerous tissue.
- Surgeries to remove the tumor, lumpectomy to remove the breast, mastectomy, which can be partial or total.
- Hormone therapy. The administration of drugs prevents the spread of the tumor and its growth. It is known as chemotherapy pills.
Treatments are classified as local or general. Locals are those such as radiation therapy or surgery that treat only the breast tissue with cancer. The general ones are hormone therapy and chemotherapy, which affect the whole body. The most common way to treat breast cancer is to use combined treatment, a local alternative, and a general one.
Depending on the grade of cancer, the treatment may be:
- Stage 0 + Ductal carcinoma in situ: lumpectomy or mastectomy plus radiation.
- Stage I and II: lumpectomy or mastectomy plus radiation is performed. Lymph node removal may also be done. Hormone therapy and chemotherapy are preventive options carried out after removal.
- Stage III: surgery plus chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy.
- Stage IV: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of several of these breast cancer treatments.
When breast cancer is stage I, II, or III, the goal is to treat it and prevent it from recurring. In the case of stage IV, the goal is to improve the person’s symptoms and lengthen the life span as much as possible.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Breast cancer: types, symptoms, and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Female reproductive system.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.