What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. Cancer starts when cells begin to grow at a rapid pace which is out of control.

Breast cancer cells usually form a tumor which will often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get the cancer too.

It is important to know that the majority of breast lumps are benign and not cancer (malignant). Non-cancerous breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast. They are not life-threatening, but some sorts of benign breast lumps can increase a woman's risk of getting carcinoma. Any breast lump or change must be checked by a health care professional to get aware if it's benign or malignant (cancer) and if it'd affect your future cancer risk.

breast cancer

Where breast cancer starts?

Most breast cancers begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple and are called Ductal cancers. Some start in the glands that make breast milk i.e. the Lobular cancers. There also are other sorts of carcinoma that are less common like phyllodes tumor and angiosarcoma.

A small number of cancers start in other tissues within the breast. These cancers are called sarcomas and lymphomas and aren't really thought of as breast cancers.

Although many sorts of carcinoma can cause a lump within the breast, not all do. Many breast cancers also are found on screening mammograms, which may detect cancers at an earlier stage, often before they will be felt, and before symptoms develop.

There are many various sorts of carcinoma and customary ones include ductal carcinoma in place (DCIS) and invasive carcinoma. Others, like phyllodes tumors and angiosarcoma are less common.

Once a biopsy is completed, carcinoma cells are tested for proteins called estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2. The tumor cells also are closely checked out within the lab to seek out what grade it is, the precise proteins found and therefore the tumor grade can help decide treatment options.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people don't have any signs or symptoms in the least.

Some warning signs of breast cancer are—

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change within the size or the form of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

How it spreads?

Breast cancer can spread when the cancer cells get into the blood or lymph system and are carried to other parts of the body.

The lymph system may be a network of lymph (or lymphatic) vessels found throughout the body that connects lymph nodes (small bean-shaped collections of system cells). The clear fluid inside the lymph vessels, called lymph, contains tissue by-products and waste, also as system cells. The lymph vessels carry lymph fluid far away from the breast. In the case of breast cancer, cancer cells can enter those lymph vessels and begin to grow in lymph nodes.

Most of the lymph vessels of the breast drain into:

  • Lymph nodes under the arm (axillary nodes)
  • Lymph nodes round the collar bone (supraclavicular [above the collar bone] and infraclavicular [below the collar bone] lymph nodes)
  • Lymph nodes inside the chest near the breast bone (internal mammary lymph nodes)

If cancer cells have spread to your lymph nodes, there's a better chance that the cells could have travelled through the lymph system and spread (metastasized) to other parts of your body. The more lymph nodes with carcinoma cells, the more likely it's that the cancer could also be found in other organs. Due to this, finding cancer in one or more lymph nodes often affects your treatment plan. Usually, you'll need surgery to get rid of one or more lymph nodes to understand whether the cancer has spread.Still, not all women with cancer cells in their lymph nodes develop metastases, and a few women with no cancer cells in their lymph nodes develop metastases later.

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