Breast cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the cells and tissues of the breasts, especially in women. While it affects both men and women, the percentage of women affected is far higher. According to statistics published by the American Cancer Society in January 2019, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women in the country with approximately 40,000 women being victims to it every year. Understanding the different types of cancer may help prevent or manage breast cancer effectively.
Noninvasive or in situ cancer
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a type of non-invasive breast cancer. This starts in the milk ducts and doesn’t spread to other parts of the breasts or body. Even though DCIS is not deadly, it can inevitably increase the chances of developing invasive breast cancer later on.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
This is the most common type of breast cancer and affects both men and women. When malignant cancer cells originate in the milk ducts and invade other parts of the breast tissue or even other parts of the body, they are termed invasive ductal carcinoma.
Metastatic breast cancer
When cancer that originates in the cells of the breasts spreads to the brain, bones, liver or lungs, it is usually diagnosed as the IV stage of cancer. Contrary to popular belief, this cancer can be treated and brought under control. Through medicine it is now possible to help the affected people lead a better life.
Inflammatory breast cancer
This rare type of breast cancer causes swelling and redness of the breasts. It is certainly harder to diagnose and treat than other types of breast cancers because of the absence of visible lumps. Spreading aggressively most of the time, inflammatory breast cancer is most common in obese women.
Phyllodes tumors of the breast
Originating in the connective tissues of the breasts, Phyllodes tumors are rarely malignant. However, they have a tendency to reappear even after being removed surgically. People affected by these tumors require close follow-up examinations and imaging tests even after their treatment.
Mainly affecting women over the age of 45-50 years, Medullary carcinoma refers to a soft, fleshy tumor of the breast that looks like a part of the brain, Medulla. Typically caused by gene mutations, this type of breast cancer is quite easy to treat because of its distinct tendency to not spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer that starts in the cells lining the blood vessels or lymph vessels in the breasts is called Angiosarcoma. This causes visible changes in the skin or forms lumps in the breasts. This condition can be a side effect of radiation treatment undertaken in the past or in women who experience lymphedema after surgery for breast cancer.