- What is Breast Cancer?
- Stages Of Brest Cancer
- Financial Help for People with Cancer
1. What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant (cancerous) growth that begins in the tissues of the breast. Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can also appear in men. Studies shows that it affects one in eight women. It is the most common cancer in women, Breast lump is the first symptom in 9 out of 10 breast cancers.
2. Types of Breast Cancer
It is not unusual for a single breast tumor to be a combination of these types and to have a mixture of invasive and in situ cancer.
Adenocarcinoma breast cancer describes a cancer that starts in the breast’s milk ducts or lobules. Cancers that originate in the ducts are called ductal carcinomas. Those cancers that originate in the lobules are called lobular carcinomas.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the name for abnormal changes in the cells in the milk ducts of the breast. 'In situ' means 'in place. DCIS is a non- invasive breast cancer. The abnormal cells are contained inside the milk ducts. also known as intraductal carcinoma it is the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer .. A mammogram is the best way to find DCIS early.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
Means “in place,” the term “in situ” refers to a very early form of cancer. In general, the term “in situ” is used to indicate that abnormal cancer cells are present but have not spread past the boundaries of tissues where they initially developed. Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) refers to a sharp increase in the number, appearance, and abnormal behavior of cells contained in the milk-producing lobules of the breast found within the lobes.It is categorized as a stage 0 breast cancer (the earliest stage), LCIS is not considered a cancer. Rather, it is “marker” (a signal) that breast cancer may develop. Most breast cancer specialists think that LCIS itself does not usually become an invasive cancer, but women with this condition do have a higher risk of developing an invasive breast cancer in the same breast or in the opposite breast. For this reason, women with LCIS, in particular, should pay close attention to having regular mammograms.
- Infiltrating (or invasive) ductal carcinoma (IDC)
Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common invasive breast cancer, It is also known as IDC, infiltrating ductal carcinoma, or carcinoma of no special type (NST) or not otherwise specified(NOS).This is the most common breast cancer. It starts in a milk passage, or duct, of the breast, has broken through the wall of the duct, and invaded the fatty tissue of the breast. At this point, it can metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system and bloodstream.
- Infiltrating (or invasive) lobular carcinoma (ILC)
Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) comprises approximately 10% of breast cancers and appears to have a distinct biology. Because it is less common than infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC), Infiltrating lobular carcinoma starts in the milk-producing glands, or lobules. Similar to IDC, it also can spread to other parts of the body. About 10% of invasive breast cancers are ILCs. Invasive lobular carcinoma may be harder to detect by a mammogram than invasive ductal carcinoma.
- Inflammatory breast cancer(IBC)
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is rare. It is not a new type of breast cancer, but it is very important to distinguish IBC from other types of breast cancer because there are major differences in its symptoms, prognosis, and treatment. Learn more about IBC here. It makes the skin of the breast look red and feels warm and gives the skin a thick, pitted appearance. Doctors now know that these changes are not caused by inflammation or infection, but by cancer cells blocking lymph vessels or channels in the skin.
- Medullary carcinoma
Medullary carcinoma is often difficult to diagnose. It tends to be of high grade, but has a better prognosis than other breast carcinomas. Lymph node involvement tends to be less frequent and the 1-year survival rate is as high as 92%. This special type of infiltrating breast cancer has a rather well-defined, distinct boundary between tumor tissue and normal tissue. It also has some other special features, including the large size of the cancer cells and the presence of immune system cells at the edges of the tumor. Medullary carcinoma accounts for about 5% of breast cancers. Medullary carcinoma is a kind of invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) named for its similarity in color to brain tissue .
- Mucinous carcinoma
Mucinous carcinoma (also known as colloid) is a type of invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). Its distinguishing feature is mucous production. It is a rear type of invasive breast cancer is formed by mucus-producing cancer cells. The prognosis for mucinous carcinoma is better than for the more common types of invasive breast cancer. Colloid carcinoma is another name for this type of breast cancer.
Paget’s disease of the nipple is a rare presentation of breast cancer that appears as a rash on the nipple. The changes in the nipple usually indicate an underlying cancer in the breast ducts, often just under the nipple, which has extended onto the surface of the nipple. In many cases, this sign of breast cancer indicates a small ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a very early breast cancer.This type of breast cancer starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple and then to the areola, the dark circle around the nipple. It is rare, accounting for only 1% of all cases of breast cancer. If no lump can be felt in the breast tissue and the biopsy shows DCIS but no invasive cancer, the prognosis is excellent.
Tubular carcinoma is a rare type of invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast. It takes its name from its microscopic appearance, in which the cancer cells resemble small tubes. Tubular carcinomas tend to be small, estrogen-receptor positive, HER2/neu negative. In some cases, tubular cancer cells are mixed with ductal or lobular cancer cells, giving a mixed-tumor diagnosis. It was named tubular because of the way the cells look under the microscope. Tubular carcinomas account for about 2% of all breast cancers and have a better prognosis than infiltrating ductal or lobular carcinomas.
3. Stages of Breast Cancer
- Stage 0
Cancer cells remain inside the breast duct, without invasion into normal adjacent breast tissue.
- Stage I
Cancer is 2 centimeters or less and is confined to the breast (lymph nodes are clear).
- Stage IIA
No tumor can be found in the breast, but cancer cells are found in the axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under the arm) OR the tumor measures 2 centimeters or smaller and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes OR the tumor is larger than 2 but no larger than 5 centimeters and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
- Stage IIB
The tumor is larger than 2 but no larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes OR the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
- Stage IIIA
No tumor is found in the breast. Cancer is found in axillary lymph nodes that are sticking together or to other structures, or cancer may be found in lymph nodes near the breastbone OR the tumor is any size. Cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, which are sticking together or to other structures, or cancer may be found in lymph nodes near the breastbone.
- Stage IIIB
The tumor may be any size and has spread to the chest wall and/or skin of the breast AND may have spread to axillary lymph nodes that are clumped together or sticking to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone. Inflammatory breast cancer is considered at least stage IIIB.
- Stage IIIC
There may either be no sign of cancer in the breast or a tumor may be any size and may have spread to the chest wall and/or the skin of the breast. The cancer has spread to lymph nodes either above or below the collarbone .the cancer may have spread to axillary lymph nodes or to lymph nodes near the breastbone.
- Stage IV
The cancer has spread — or metastasized — to other parts of the body.
The causes of breast cancer are not yet completely understood. The risk of developing breast cancer is very small in young women and increases as women get older. Eight out of ten (80%) breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50. Other risk factors include being overweight, having a significant family history of breast cancer, using hormone replacement therapy after the age of 50 or taking the contraceptive pill.
Breast cancer isn't always identified with the naked eye. Its early signs are sometime hidden within your breast tissues. Changes to your breasts that you do see may not be the result of breast cancer at all. Lumps and bumps may come and go, as your hormones ebb and flow, and as you age. Breast skin may change texture due to sunburn, radiation treatments, or infections that cause rashes.
Any of the following unusual changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
- Swelling of all or part of the breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast pain
- Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- A nipple discharge other than breast milk
- A lump in the underarm area
- A thickening in the breast or armpit.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Changes in the skin of the breast, such as a dimple or skin that looks like an orange peel.
- A change in the nipple, such as scaling of the skin or a nipple that turns in.
- A green or bloody fluid that comes from the nipple.
- A change in the color or feel of the skin around the nipple (areola).
5. How to Prevent Breast Cancer
- Avoid alcohol.
The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol — including beer, wine or liquor — limit yourself to no more than one drink a day. women who drank more alcohol increased their risk by 40 percent.
- Avoid long-term estrogen replacement therapy (ERT).
The latest study on this controversial subject showed that taking ERT for 15 years or longer significantly raises breast cancer risk. Results were published in the May 8, 2006 Archives of Internal Medicine.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause.The ovaries produce most of your estrogen but some is metabolized by fat, so the leaner you are, the lower the risk.
- Breastfeed your babies.
Breast-feeding may also play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
- Exercise regularly.
Being physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (think brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running), in addition to strength training exercises at least twice a week. If you're just starting a physical activity program, start slowly and build intensity gradually.
- Eat less meat.
Women who eat the most meat have higher risk than those who eat least or none.
- Avoid conventionally produced beef and dairy products.
They can contain residues of estrogenic hormones used as growth promoters in cattle.
- If you eat meat, cook it less rather than more.
A preference for well-done meat correlates with increased risk, because carcinogenic compounds form as animal tissue is cooked.
- Eat cruciferous (cabbage-family) vegetables regularly.
They provide protective phytonutrients.
- Discontinue hormone therapy.
Long-term combination hormone therapy increases the risk of breast cancer. If you're taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. You may be able to manage your symptoms with non-hormonal therapies, such as physical activity. If you decide that the benefits of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the risks, consider using the lowest dose that's effective for your symptoms, and plan to use it only temporarily.
- Avoid exposure to environmental pollution.
While further studies are needed, some research suggests a link between breast cancer and exposure to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in vehicle exhaust and air pollution.
6. Financial Help for People with Cancer
Cancer can be a tremendous financial burden, on a patient as well as on a family. Besides
hospital bills, cancer treatment includes many expenses that insurance often doesn't cover,
such as transportation or child care. If the person with cancer or caregiver has to stop working,
the financial crisis becomes greater. Some relief is available, but it will take effort to piece
together what is available.
Develop a budget that lists your monthly income and all your monthly expenses. Writing down all your expenses can help you decide if you can cut back anywhere. A written list of expenses also can help you prioritize your bills. This can help you figure out if you're going to be short of funds and take steps to get help if you need it.
Talk to your creditors and let them know that you're having trouble paying your bills. Tell them why you're having problems and ask if you can work out a payment plan. Most creditors are willing to work with customers, especially if you have a good history with them. Don't wait until your account has been turned over to a collection agency.
If you're having trouble making or sticking to a budget, you may want to contact a credit counselor. To find a reputable counselor, talk to someone at your bank or local consumer protection agency. Many universities, as well as local housing authorities and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, offer non-profit credit counseling programs.
Talk to the social worker at your hospital or cancer center. This person can usually refer you to local government and nonprofit agencies that may be able to help you.
Contact your local United Way or American Cancer Society office. These organizations may be able to offer financial assistance or direct you to other groups in your area.
Many local churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious organizations and fraternal orders have volunteers who can help with transportation or grocery shopping. They may also have financial assistance programs.
Understand which entitlement programs you are qualified for. A hospital or community social worker can direct you to the proper governmental agency.Most entitlement programs take time to process your enrollment forms. The sooner you request information and send in your application, the sooner you will receive assistance.Take time to review your health insurance policy as well as other insurance policies you have to better understand your coverage. Ask your insurance company if they can assign you a case manager to help you and answer your questions. If you need help with hospital expenses, ask to speak to a financial counselor in the business office of the hospital. They can help you develop a monthly payment plan.If you expect to run out of money, or have already, and cannot meet your daily living expenses like rent and food, talk directly to your creditors. Many utility and mortgage companies, for example, will work out a payment plan with you before a crisis develops.