Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer
To determine if your symptoms are caused by breast cancer or a benign breast condition, your doctor will do a thorough physical exam in addition to a breast exam. They may also request one or more diagnostic tests to help understand whats causing your symptoms.
Tests that can help your doctor diagnose breast cancer include:
- Mammogram. The most common way to see below the surface of your breast is with an imaging test called a mammogram. Many women ages 40 and older get annual mammograms to check for breast cancer. If your doctor suspects you may have a tumor or suspicious spot, they will also request a mammogram. If an atypical area is seen on your mammogram, your doctor may request additional tests.
- Ultrasound. A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the tissues deep in your breast. An ultrasound can help your doctor distinguish between a solid mass, such as a tumor, and a benign cyst.
Your doctor may also suggest tests such as an MRI or a breast biopsy.
If you dont already have a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
Prognostic And Predictive Factors
Numerous prognostic and predictive factors for breast cancer have been identified by the College of American Pathologists to guide the clinical management of women with breast cancer. Breast cancer prognostic factors include the following:
- Axillary lymph node status
- Histologic subtypes
- Response to neoadjuvant therapy
- Estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor status
- HER2 gene amplification or overexpression
Cancerous involvement of the lymph nodes in the axilla is an indication of the likelihood that the breast cancer has spread to other organs. Survival and recurrence are independent of level of involvement but are directly related to the number of involved nodes.
Patients with node-negative disease have an overall 10-year survival rate of 70% and a 5-year recurrence rate of 19%. In patients with lymph nodes that are positive for cancer, the recurrence rates at 5 years are as follows:
- One to three positive nodes 30-40%
- Four to nine positive nodes 44-70%
- 10 positive nodes 72-82%
Hormone receptorpositive tumors generally have a more indolent course and are responsive to hormone therapy. ER and PR assays are routinely performed on tumor material by pathologists immunohistochemistry is a semiquantitative technique that is observer- and antibody-dependent.
What Is Stage Iii Breast Cancer
In stage III breast cancer, the cancer has spread further into the breast or the tumor is a larger size than earlier stages. It is divided into three subcategories.
Stage IIIA is based on one of the following:
- With or without a tumor in the breast, cancer is found in four to nine nearby lymph nodes.
- A breast tumor is larger than 50 millimeters, and the cancer has spread to between one and three nearby lymph nodes.
In stage IIIB, a tumor has spread to the chest wall behind the breast. In addition, these factors contribute to assigning this stage:
- Cancer may also have spread to the skin, causing swelling or inflammation.
- It may have broken through the skin, causing an ulcerated area or wound.
- It may have spread to as many as nine underarm lymph nodes or to nodes near the breastbone.
In stage IIIC, there may be a tumor of any size in the breast, or no tumor present at all. But either way, the cancer has spread to one of the following places:
- ten or more underarm lymph nodes
- lymph nodes near the collarbone
- some underarm lymph nodes and lymph nodes near the breastbone
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What Are The Types Of Breast Cancer
There are several different types of breast cancer, including:
Can cancer form in other parts of the breast?
When we say breast cancer, we usually mean cancers that form in milk ducts or lobules. Cancers can also form in other parts of your breast, but these types of cancer are less common. These can include:
- Angiosarcoma. This rare type of cancer begins in the cells that make up the lining of blood or lymph vessels.
- Phyllodes tumors. Starting in the connective tissue, phyllodes tumors are rare. Theyre usually benign , but they can be malignant in some cases.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Treatment At Moffitt
In the Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, our multispecialty tumor board reviews each thepatients breast cancer staging of many of our patients during a weekly meeting. This unique approach provides our patients with the benefit of highly individualized treatment based on multiple expert opinions in a single location, where we also offer comprehensive screening, diagnostic and supportive care services without the need for referrals.
If youd like to learn more about invasive ductal carcinoma stages and treatment options, call or complete a new patient registration form online. At Moffitt, we are providing every new patient with rapid access to a cancer expert within one day, a turnaround faster than that offered by any other cancer hospital across the country.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
If youre undergoing cancer treatment, its important to bring any issues to the attention of your healthcare provider. Call your oncology team if you notice:
- A fever of 101° or higher.
- Sores on your lips or in your mouth.
- Sudden weight loss of over five pounds.
- Excessive vomiting .
- Blood in your pee or poop.
- Excessive bleeding or bruising.
Prognosis By Cancer Type
DCIS is divided into comedo and noncomedo subtypes, a division that provides additional prognostic information on the likelihood of progression or local recurrence. Generally, the prognosis is worse for comedo DCIS than for noncomedo DCIS .
Approximately 10-20% of women with LCIS develop invasive breast cancer within 15 years after their LCIS diagnosis. Thus, LCIS is considered a biomarker of increased breast cancer risk.
Infiltrating ductal carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed breast tumor and has a tendency to metastasize via lymphatic vessels. Like ductal carcinoma, infiltrating lobular carcinoma typically metastasizes to axillary lymph nodes first. However, it also has a tendency to be more multifocal. Nevertheless, its prognosis is comparable to that of ductal carcinoma.
Typical or classic medullary carcinomas are often associated with a good prognosis despite the unfavorable prognostic features associated with this type of breast cancer, including ER negativity, high tumor grade, and high proliferative rates. However, an analysis of 609 medullary breast cancer specimens from various stage I and II National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project protocols indicates that overall survival and prognosis are not as good as previously reported. Atypical medullary carcinomas also carry a poorer prognosis.
Additionally, lymph node metastasis is frequently seen in this subtype , and the number of lymph nodes involved appears to correlate with survival.
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What Is The Survival Outlook For Breast Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute , the percentage of patients surviving five years after diagnosis is:
- 99 percent for breast cancer that is still local to the breast
- 86 percent for breast cancer that has spread just outside the breast
- 29 percent for breast cancer that has spread to more distant parts of the body
The NCI also lists the five-year survival rate for breast cancer overall as 90.6 percent for women and 83 percent for men.
Stage 3 To Stage 4 Cancer
If the cancer is at stage III, a treatment called Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is often given where chemotherapy drugs are given before, and not after surgery, to reduce the size of the tumour. When the tumour shrinks, it helps surgeons to easily operate upon it. With Neoadjuvant chemotherapy, a woman might need to undergo a lumpectomy instead of mastectomy. According to doctors, Neoadjuvant chemotherapy has the potential to make patients cancer-free and can also dismiss the need for any surgery. After reducing the size of the tumour, doctors perform the surgery, followed by radiation therapy. For stage IV, doctors focus on increasing the long-term survival of the patient rather than primarily curing it. According to doctors, a majority of patients detected with stage IV breast cancer cannot be cured, but with modern treatment, an improvement in the quality of life can be achieved. In fact, they add, if limited organs are affected, good treatments are available to help the patient to lead a better life. In this stage too, a patient undergoes various treatment modalities, however, since cancer has spread to various organs, surgery has a very limited role in the management of advanced breast cancer and is done in very few cases, for symptomatic relief.
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How To Reduce Your Risk Of Breast Cancer
Although breast cancer can attack any woman at any age, there are certain risk factors and habits that can increase your chances of getting cancerous tumors.
Following a healthy lifestyle, taking care of your diet, being physically active, and giving up unhealthy habits can significantly help you stay safe.
Also, you should self-examine your breasts every month, especially if youre under 39 years. Look out for any suspicious symptoms of breast cancer such as lumps, discharge, misshaped breasts, or shrunken nipples.
Heres a complete step-by-step printable guide that explainshow to do your breast self-check at home.
And if youve crossed your 40s, now is the time to go for your annual mammograms. This technology is completely safe and detects any early breast cancer stage signs at the right time.
Here are some other useful tips to prevent female breast cancer risk:
- Get enough sleep at night. Lack of sleep in menopausal women increases the chances of breast cancer.
- Keep a check on your alcohol consumption. Drink sparingly.
- High levels of estrogen because of hormone therapy contribute to breast cancer tumors. Avoid delaying menopause unnecessarily.
- Stop drinking dairy milk daily. 2 glasses can raise breast cancer risk by a whopping 80%!
Now without further ado, lets take a look at the 5 stages of breast cancer in women.
Treatment Of Breast Cancer By Stage
This information is based on AJCC Staging systems prior to 2018 which were primarily based on tumor size and lymph node status. Since the updated staging system for breast cancer now also includes estrogen receptor , progesterone receptor , and HER2 status, the stages may be higher or lower than previous staging systems. Whether or not treatment strategies will change with this new staging system are yet to be determined. You should discuss your stage and treatment options with your doctor.
The stage of your breast cancer is an important factor in making decisions about your treatment options. In general, the more the breast cancer has spread, the more treatment you will likely need. But other factors can also be important, such as:
- If the cancer cells have hormone receptors
- If the cancer cells have large amounts of the HER2 protein
- If the cancer cells have a certain gene mutation
- Your overall health and personal preferences
- If you have gone through menopause or not
- How fast the cancer is growing and if it is affecting major organs like the lungs or liver
Talk with your doctor about how these factors can affect your treatment options.
Stage 0 cancers are limited to the inside of the milk duct and are non-invasive .
Ductal carcinoma in situ is a stage 0 breast tumor.
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Breast Cancer: Diagnosis & Treatment
There are a few tests that your doctor might use to confirm the presence of any significant lumps in your breast or under armpits that might be responsible for causing breast cancer.
Physical examination or breast exam : your doctor will examine your breasts and armpits for any lumps that could be present.
Mammograms : Mammography is the technique to screen human breast with low-energy X-rays for diagnosis and screening, primarily used for the diagnosis of breast cancers.
Ultrasound : ultrasound technique uses sound waves to produce images of structures deep within the body. Using ultrasound can determine whether the lumps are fluid-filled cysts or are a solid mass.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging : MRI machines use magnet and radio waves to produce images of the body structures. Unlike other imaging procedures, MRI doesnt make use of radiation to
Biopsies : A biopsy is a procedure to take a sample of your bodys cells or tissue so that it may be examined in a lab. It is regarded as the only definitive way to diagnose breast cancers.
When advising for a particular treatment your doctor might consider any or all of the following factors,
- Size of the cyst
- Which stage of breast cancer you are at?
Depending on the above factors, the treatment suggested could be,
Lumpectomy also referred to as breast conserving surgery or local
excision, in this your surgeon removes the tumor and a small margin of the surrounding skin tissue.
What Is The Survival Rate For Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
The survival rate for this malignancy varies depending on the stage the patient is at. For example:
- If invasive ductal carcinoma has not spread beyond the breast, the five-year survival rate is approximately 99%.
- If the cancer has spread to nearby structures or lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is approximately 86%.
- If the malignancy has spread to a distant area of the body, the five-year survival rate is approximately 27%.
When considering these numbers, its important to remember that they are just general benchmarks and should not be used to predict a specific persons chances of survival. There are a number of factors that can influence a patients prognosis, such as:
- Whether the cancer is new or recurring
- How far the cancer had progressed by the time it was diagnosed
- The cancers hormone-receptor status and HER2 status
- How quickly the cancer cells are growing
- How the cancer is responding to treatment
- The patients age, menopausal status and overall health
Plus, reported survival rates will of course be dated, and as newer treatment methods are developed, these rates will likely improve.
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What Is Stage 4 Cancer Life Expectancy
In most cases, how stage 4 cancer is likely to progress depends on the type of cancer. Some advanced cancers are very aggressive and fast-growing.Survival Rates.Five-Year Survival Rates for Distant CancerCancer TypeRelative 5-Year Survival RateLung and bronchus7.0%Pancreatic3.1%10 more rowsAug 12, 2022
Paying Attention To Cancer Symptoms
Cancer, in its many different forms and types is a disease most of us fear. The different types of treatments are not easy to go through, physically and mentally and their success rates aren’t always high. Among factors that will affect the treatment’s odds and chances to beat the disease, is the extremely important factor of early detection.
No matter what cancer type it is, early detection always increases the odds to beat the disease and clear one’s body from the cancerous cells or remove the tumor. Early detection is sometimes critical while it often leads to the treatments beginning in the early stages of the cancer, when the chances that the cancer has spread are still low and that the tumor hasn’t had a lot of time to grow. If the cancer hasn’t spread, treatment will be targeted in a better way with any kind of treatment available and thus raise the chances to expel the cancer from the body.
To detect a cancer tumor in or on our body in its early stages, we must be alert to possible cancer symptoms and basically be attentive to our body. We mustn’t ignore abnormalities in our body and dismiss them as “nothing”, as me must look within what’s wrong and make sure it is “nothing”.
There are many different cancer symptoms, as there are many different types of cancer. But there are a few symptoms that are universal and most cancers share.
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Tnm System For Breast Cancer
Doctors also group cancers by the letters T, N, or M. Each of those letters tells you something about your cancer.
âTâ stands for tumor, or the lump of cancer found in the breast itself. The higher the number assigned after it, the bigger or wider the mass.
âNâ stands for nodes, as in lymph nodes. These small filters are found throughout the body, and they’re especially dense in and around the breast. They’re meant to catch cancer cells before they travel to other parts of the body. Here, too, a number tells you whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the breast and, if so, how many.
âMâ stands for metastasis. The cancer has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes.
Why Is Staging Important
During your initial diagnosis, you and your cancer team will work together to develop a treatment plan. Staging allows you to answer the following questions:
- How does this cancer typically progress?
- Which treatments may work?
Some of the staging may be even more in-depth, but in general, its designed to prepare a more tailored approach to your disease. Your care team will be able to explain any new terms and what they mean for you.
Expert cancer care
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What Is Stage Iv Breast Cancer
Stage IV is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. It has spread to nearby lymph nodes and to distant parts of the body beyond the breast. This means it possibly involves your organs such as the lungs, liver, or brain or your bones.
Breast cancer may be stage IV when it is first diagnosed, or it can be a recurrence of a previous breast cancer that has spread.