By Ibukun Busari
Breast cancer occurs when some breast cells begin to grow abnormally and divide more rapidly than healthy cells do, forming lump. Cell may spread through the breasts to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Some common causes of breast cancer include; ageing, longer menstrual history, family history of breast cancer, obesity especially after menopause, excessive alcohol consumption, delayed first pregnancy and less breast feeding. Women are suggested to self-examine their breasts regularly to assess any abnormality. There are different treatment options, it’s important that you think carefully about each option.
Types of breast cancer
- Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS): This is a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct, the atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts into surrounding breast tissue. DCIS is very early cancer stage that is highly treatable, but if it is left untreated, or undetected, it may spread into the surrounding breast tissue.
- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC): This is an invasive cancer where abnormal cancer cells that began forming in the milk ducts have spread beyond he ducts into other parts of breast tissue. It is also sometimes called Infiltrative Ductal Carcinoma. IDC is the most common type of breast cancer, making up nearly 70-80% of all breast cancer diagnoses.
- Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS): This is a condition where abnormal cells are found in the lobus of the breast. LCIS is highly treatable and seldom becomes invasive cancer, however, having LCIS in one breast increases the risk of developing the breast cancer in either breast.
- Invasive Lobular Cancer (ILC): This begins in the lobules (milk gland) of the breast and spreads to surrounding normal tissue. It can also spread through the blood and lymph systems to other parts of the body. ILC is the second most common type of breast cancer. Over 10% of invasive breast cancer are ILC.
- Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC): A diagnosis of TNBC means that the three most common types of receptors known to fuel most breast cancer growth- Estrogen, Progesterone and the Her-2? Neu-gene are not present in the cancer tumor. This means that the breast cancer cells have tested negative for hormone epidermal growth factor. Since the tumor cells lack the necessary receptors, common treatments like hormone therapy and drugs that targets estrogens, progesterone and Her-2 are ineffective. TNBC can be more aggressive and difficult to treat. Using chemotherapy to treat TNBC is still an effective option.
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC): This is an aggressive and fast growing breast cancer in which cancer cells infiltrate the skin and lymph vessels of the breast. It often produce no distinct tumor or lump that can be felt and isolated within the breast. But when the lymph vessels become blocked by the breast cancer cells, symptoms begin to appear such as persistent itching and the appearance of a small rash, irritation similar to an insect bite. The breast becomes swollen and red. IBC requires aggressive treatment beginning with chemotherapy.
- Metastic Breast Cancer (MBC): This is also classified as stage 4 breast cancer. The cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This usually include the lungs, liver, bones or brain. Some symptoms of MBC include severe progressive pain, swelling, bones that are easily fractured or broken, vomiting, vision disturbance, persistent headache, chest pain etc.
- Breast Cancer during Pregnancy: It is possible to be diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy, although it is rare, and breast cancer is not caused by pregnancy. Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy have tremendous additional string due to concern for the safety of the unborn child. It can also be a traumatic and extremely difficult situation. The treatment plan will depend on the size of the tumor, its location, and the term of the pregnancy.