Breast Cancer

 

Good news, research has come a loooong way

 

Thankfully due to a tremendous amount of charities and groups, many women now know the importance of being aware of breast cancer. Still worldwide breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in women. However because of the huge amount of research, the 5 year survival rate on average is now at 90%.

 

The highest rates of breast cancer are found in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and western and northern europe.

 

These differences are believed to be reliant on a number of things including diet, weight, number of pregnancies, age when period starts and age with first pregnancy.

However because of breast screenings now, much more women are able to catch breast cancer early and effectively treat the cancer

 

How do I check for it?

 

Breast cancer can be detected with screening (mammogram) or feeling your breasts for lumps which should be done monthly. The most common type of mass that a woman might find in her breast has irregular borders, is hard and doesn't move. However, these characteristics alone can't accurately determine of a lump in cancerous.

 

Other common symptoms include breast swelling, breast skin dimpling, breast skin being irritated, breast skin that's red, scaly or ticker than normal, breast pain, nipple pain, nipple inversion (pushing inward), nipple discharge and a lump in the armpit.

 

 

Are there different kinds?

 

There are many types of breast cancer, and depending on the type and how the cancer is spread will help determine the course of action. Breast cancer can develop in many parts of the boob from the ducts that milk travels through to reach the nipple, the area where the milk is produced or the breast tissue. The types of breast cancer can be divided into the terms non-invsasive, invasive, metastatic and others.

 

 

The full list of breast cancers include

 

 

  • ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
  • invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC)
  • invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC)
  • inflammatory breast cancer
  • lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
  • male breast cancer
  • Paget's disease of the nipple
  • phyllodes tumors of the breast
  • metastatic breast cancer
  • triple negative breast cancer

 

Out of the invasive ductal carcinomas subtypes that exist include

  • tubular
  • medullary
  • mucinous
  • papillary
  • cribriform

 

Who's more at risk?

 

 

There are a few risk factors that can make some people more likely to develop breast cancer than other people.

  • Age - breast cancer is more common in women over 50 years of age
  • Genetic mutation - many people might hear about BRCA 1 & 2 mutations. Other mutations that can increase your risk include
  • Family history
  • Weight - women who are obese are particularly at risk, especially after menopause
  • Time of first period - women who start their period before the age of 12 may be more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Alcohol
  • Hormone therapy - taking estrogen or progesterone after menopause may increase your chance of breast cancer
  • Late in life pregnancy - if the first pregnancy is after the age of 30, she might be more at risk
  • Premature birth - having a history of not carrying a baby to full term can make a woman more likely to get breast cancer
  • Dense breast tissue - your doctor will be able to tell how dense your breast tissue is from your yearly mammogram
  • Previous radiation therapy - this will most likely be from a previous cancer diagnosis

 

Diagnosis & Treatment

 

If you have found a lump in your breast that feels similar to a cancerous lump described, you should get to the doctor as soon as possible. If the doctor also is worried about breast cancer from an initial exam, they will order imaging, which will most likely be a mammogram, an utrasound, or sometimes as MRI.

 

If these results come back suspicious, the doctor may proceed with a biopsy (tissue sample) of the lump. If the biopsy comes back cancerous, the doctor may follow up with more tests to see if the cancer has spread and begin to develop a treatment plan.

 

To treat breast cancer, your doctor will look at the type of the breast cancer you have, and if or how much it has spread.

 

Surgery is the most common form of treatment for breast cancer. There are two main types of surgery

  • lumpectomy - only the cancerous lump will be removed from the breast
  • mastectomy - either one or both breasts will be removed. These surgeries are usually delicate to save as much breast skin, nipple and areola for a later reconstruction surgery where the breast will be rebuilt.

 

Usually if a patient has a double mastetomy (both breasts removed) this will be to prevent the cancer returning if they have a particular family history or genetic mutation.

 

Other common forms of breast cancer treatment include radiation, chemotherapy, proton therapy, targeted drug therapy, and angiogenesis inhibitors.

 

Proton therapy

 

Proton therapy is a newer type of cancer treatment and is fairly similar to radiation therapy. However, proton therapy can be more exact and less destructive to the healthy tissue that surrounds the cancerous tissue. Therefore, proton therapy is gaining more interest.

 

Targeted drug therapy

 

Targeted drug therapies will be different depending on the cancer (similar to the way different chemotherapies are used to treat different cancers). Targeted therapy has gotten especially common for breast cancer patients because it effectively treats breast cancers that previously didn't have great prognoses.

 

A common type of targeted therapy for breast cancer is called endocrine therapy, which is specific to hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

 

There are also common targeted therapy options for people that do not have hormone receptor-positive cancer as well.

 

Ask your doctor if you are interested in targeted therapy. New drugs and ways to treat breast cancer are coming out all of the time.

 

 

Good news, research has come a loooong way

 

Thankfully due to a tremendous amount of charities and groups, many women now know the importance of being aware of breast cancer. Still worldwide breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in women. However because of the huge amount of research, the 5 year survival rate on average is now at 90%.

 

The highest rates of breast cancer are found in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and western and northern europe.

 

These differences are believed to be reliant on a number of things including diet, weight, number of pregnancies, age when period starts and age with first pregnancy.

Breast Cancer

However because of breast screenings now, much more women are able to catch breast cancer early and effectively treat the cancer

 

How do I check for it?

 

Breast cancer can be detected with screening (mammogram) or feeling your breasts for lumps which should be done monthly. The most common type of mass that a woman might find in her breast has irregular borders, is hard and doesn't move. However, these characteristics alone can't accurately determine of a lump in cancerous.

 

Other common symptoms include breast swelling, breast skin dimpling, breast skin being irritated, breast skin that's red, scaly or ticker than normal, breast pain, nipple pain, nipple inversion (pushing inward), nipple discharge and a lump in the armpit.

 

 

Are there different kinds?

 

There are many types of breast cancer, and depending on the type and how the cancer is spread will help determine the course of action. Breast cancer can develop in many parts of the boob from the ducts that milk travels through to reach the nipple, the area where the milk is produced or the breast tissue. The types of breast cancer can be divided into the terms non-invsasive, invasive, metastatic and others.

 

 

The full list of breast cancers include

 

 

  • ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
  • invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC)
  • invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC)
  • inflammatory breast cancer
  • lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
  • male breast cancer
  • Paget's disease of the nipple
  • phyllodes tumors of the breast
  • metastatic breast cancer
  • triple negative breast cancer

 

Out of the invasive ductal carcinomas subtypes that exist include

  • tubular
  • medullary
  • mucinous
  • papillary
  • cribriform

 

Who's more at risk?

 

 

There are a few risk factors that can make some people more likely to develop breast cancer than other people.

  • Age - breast cancer is more common in women over 50 years of age
  • Genetic mutation - many people might hear about BRCA 1 & 2 mutations. Other mutations that can increase your risk include
  • Family history
  • Weight - women who are obese are particularly at risk, especially after menopause
  • Time of first period - women who start their period before the age of 12 may be more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Alcohol
  • Hormone therapy - taking estrogen or progesterone after menopause may increase your chance of breast cancer
  • Late in life pregnancy - if the first pregnancy is after the age of 30, she might be more at risk
  • Premature birth - having a history of not carrying a baby to full term can make a woman more likely to get breast cancer
  • Dense breast tissue - your doctor will be able to tell how dense your breast tissue is from your yearly mammogram
  • Previous radiation therapy - this will most likely be from a previous cancer diagnosis

 

Diagnosis & Treatment

 

If you have found a lump in your breast that feels similar to a cancerous lump described, you should get to the doctor as soon as possible. If the doctor also is worried about breast cancer from an initial exam, they will order imaging, which will most likely be a mammogram, an utrasound, or sometimes as MRI.

 

If these results come back suspicious, the doctor may proceed with a biopsy (tissue sample) of the lump. If the biopsy comes back cancerous, the doctor may follow up with more tests to see if the cancer has spread and begin to develop a treatment plan.

 

To treat breast cancer, your doctor will look at the type of the breast cancer you have, and if or how much it has spread.

 

Surgery is the most common form of treatment for breast cancer. There are two main types of surgery

  • lumpectomy - only the cancerous lump will be removed from the breast
  • mastectomy - either one or both breasts will be removed. These surgeries are usually delicate to save as much breast skin, nipple and areola for a later reconstruction surgery where the breast will be rebuilt.

 

Usually if a patient has a double mastetomy (both breasts removed) this will be to prevent the cancer returning if they have a particular family history or genetic mutation.

 

Other common forms of breast cancer treatment include radiation, chemotherapy, proton therapy, targeted drug therapy, and angiogenesis inhibitors.

 

Proton therapy

 

Proton therapy is a newer type of cancer treatment and is fairly similar to radiation therapy. However, proton therapy can be more exact and less destructive to the healthy tissue that surrounds the cancerous tissue. Therefore, proton therapy is gaining more interest.

 

Targeted drug therapy

 

Targeted drug therapies will be different depending on the cancer (similar to the way different chemotherapies are used to treat different cancers). Targeted therapy has gotten especially common for breast cancer patients because it effectively treats breast cancers that previously didn't have great prognoses.

 

A common type of targeted therapy for breast cancer is called endocrine therapy, which is specific to hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

 

There are also common targeted therapy options for people that do not have hormone receptor-positive cancer as well.

 

Ask your doctor if you are interested in targeted therapy. New drugs and ways to treat breast cancer are coming out all of the time.

 

Symptom list:

Breast Cancer