Where Is The First Place Breast Cancer Spreads
The first place that breast cancer commonly spreads to outside the breast are the lymph nodes in the armpit . Surgery is usually needed to remove one or more lymph nodes to help check for breast cancer spread. This operation to remove lymph nodes in the armpit is known as axillary surgery.
Breast cancer found in the lymph nodes will impact the breast cancers staging, and the treatment plan will often be affected as well.
If cancer is found in the lymph nodes, there is a higher chance that cells have travelled through the lymphatic system and bloodstream to spread to other parts of the body. In this instance, treatment with systemic therapies, such as chemotherapy, is likely to be recommended.
If cancer is found in a large number of axillary nodes, radiotherapy may also be recommended to kill any breast cancer cells that remain in the armpit but cannot be removed by surgery.
Breast Lumps And Pain Medications
When nonmedical treatment fails to control cyclic breast pain, your health care professional may prescribe birth control pills or danazol . Be sure to ask about possible side effects of these medications and report them to your doctor if you experience them.
- Many other drugs have been tried in the treatment of cyclic breast pain and are not useful or are generally not recommended because of their side effects.
- Noncyclic breast pain is managed by treating the underlying cause. If a mass or lump is found, it is checked and treated. When your breast pain is caused by chest wall tenderness, it is treated with anti-inflammatory medication or rarely by steroid injections.
- If no cause for the noncyclic pain is found, a pain treatment protocol for cyclic pain is usually tried and often found to be successful.
- For simple mastitis without an abscess, oral antibiotics are prescribed. The antibiotic chosen will depend on the clinical situation, your doctor’s preference, and your medication allergies, if any. This medicine is safe to use while breastfeeding and will not harm the baby.
- Chronic mastitis in nonbreastfeeding women is more complicated. Recurrent episodes of mastitis are common. Occasionally this type of infection responds poorly to antibiotics. Therefore, close follow-up with your doctor is mandatory.
What Are Breast Lobes And Breast Ducts
Each female breast contains 15-20 sections called lobes. Each lobe is made up of many smaller sacs called lobules . It is these lobules that produce milk in breastfeeding women. The lobes and lobules are connected to the nipple by tubes called ducts, which carry milk to the nipple. Milk flows through the nipple to the outside during breastfeeding.
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What Is Stage 0 Dcis
Stage 0 breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ is a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. In Stage 0 breast cancer, the atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts or lobules into the surrounding breast tissue. Ductal Carcinoma In Situ is very early cancer that is highly treatable, but if its left untreated or undetected, it can spread into the surrounding breast tissue.
What Is Breast Cancer
This diagram of the breast shows the location of the lobules, lobe, duct, areola, nipple, and fat.
Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer. The kind of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer.
Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast is made up of three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk. The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. The connective tissue surrounds and holds everything together. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules.
Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Fully understanding your situation can empower you and help you take control of your health. Here are some questions you might want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What stage of invasive ductal carcinoma do I have?
- How far has my cancer spread?
- What are my treatment options?
- How long will my treatment take?
- Will I be able to work during my treatment?
- What are my chances of survival?
What Is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Breast ducts are the passageways where milk from the milk glands flows to the nipple.
Invasive ductal carcinoma is cancer that happens when abnormal cells growing in the lining of the milk ducts change and invade breast tissue beyond the walls of the duct.
Once that happens, the cancer cells can spread. They can break into the lymph nodes or bloodstream, where they can travel to other organs and areas in the body, resulting in metastatic breast cancer.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
Follow your healthcare providers guidance so you receive check-ups and mammograms as frequently as you should. In the meantime, pay attention to your breasts so you dont miss signs of breast cancer.
- Pain in your breast or nipple.
- A nipple that pulls inward.
- Nipple discharge.
- Skin changes .
Many of these symptoms are also signs of benign conditions. Get any changes checked to be sure.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Ductal carcinoma in situ is one of the most treatable cancers. It doesnt typically spread beyond your milk ducts and rarely returns after breast-conserving surgery. Talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits of your treatment options versus potential side effects or complications. Multiple factors will determine the type of surgery thats best for you. Similarly, weigh the pros and cons of receiving additional treatments, like hormone therapy, with your provider.
Blocked Milk Duct Possible Causes
- Feed on the affected side, altering feeding positions and feeding frequently.
- Very gentle massage lumps towards the nipple during and after feeds.
- Apply warmth to the area before a feed.
- Cool packs may be applied to the area following a feed to relieve pain and inflammation.
- See your medical adviser if you cannot clear the lump/blockage within a few days, or sooner if you begin to feel unwell.
How Is Ductal Carcinoma In Situ Diagnosed
About 80% of cases are found by mammograms. On the mammogram, it appears as a shadowy area.
If your mammogram suggests that you may have DCIS, your doctor should order a biopsy to analyze the cells and confirm the diagnosis. Biopsies for DCIS are typically done using needles to remove tissue samples from the breast.
If you have DCIS, your doctor may do more tests to gather information about your cancer. These tests may include an ultrasound or MRI. Based on the results of various tests, your doctor will be able to tell the size of your tumor and how much of your breast is affected by the cancer.
Can A Clogged Milk Duct Turn Into Cancer
Close follow-up of any breast lump or infection is also important to rule out breast cancer. Mastitis does not cause cancer, but some cancers can mimic the appearance of mastitis. If a breast infection is slow to clear up, your healthcare professional may recommend a mammogram or other tests to rule out cancer.
Can ductal ectasia be confused with cancer?
In a small number of women, mammary duct ectasia causes lumps to form in the breast. The lumps develop as a result of scar tissue that forms around the inflamed milk ducts. The lump can be mistaken for breast cancer, but it is not cancer.
Is ectasia cancer?
Duct ectasia, also known as mammary duct ectasia, is a benign breast condition that occurs when a milk duct in the breast widens and its walls thicken. This can lead to blockage of the conduit and lead to fluid buildup. It is more common in women approaching menopause.
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Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Diagnosis
IDC is usually found as the result of an abnormal mammogram. To diagnose cancer, youâll get a biopsy to collect cells for analysis. The doctor will remove a bit of tissue to look at under a microscope. They can make a diagnosis from the biopsy results.
If the biopsy confirms you have cancer, youâll likely have more tests to see how large the tumor is and if it has spread:
- CT scan. It’s a powerful X-ray that makes detailed pictures inside your body.
- PET scan. The doctor injects a radioactive substance called a tracer into your arm. It travels through your body and gets absorbed into the cancer cells. Together with a CT scan, this test can help find cancer in lymph nodes and other areas.
- MRI. It uses strong magnets and radio waves to make pictures of the breast and other structures inside your body.
- Bone scan. The doctor injects a tracer into your arm. They take pictures to find out if cancer has traveled to your bones.
- Chest X-ray. It uses low doses of radiation to make pictures of the inside of your chest.
What Is Male Breast Cancer
Breast cancer in men is very rare, with less than 1 percent of all breast cancers found in men. The risk increases for older men and those with high estrogen levels, low male-hormone levels or a family history of breast cancer. Increased risk is also associated with those who have been exposed to radiation, heavy drinkers, and those with liver disease or who are obese. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and drugs that target genetic changes in cells that cause cancer.
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What Is The Prognosis For Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Your doctor will discuss what you can expect based on the characteristics of the invasive ductal carcinoma and the effectiveness of your treatment.
Specialty centers such as Johns Hopkins Medicines Breast Health Services can offer integrated teams of breast cancer specialists who have skill and experience in surgery, breast reconstruction, chemotherapy, biologic targeted therapy, radiation therapy and other hormonal therapies.
Medical science is making great strides forward in treating breast cancer, allowing our surgeries to be less invasive and improving surgical outcomes and overall quality of life, Wright says.
What Stage Of Cancer Is Ductal Carcinoma In Situ
DCIS is a highly treatable and curable stage 0 breast cancer. Healthcare providers classify cancer into stages from 0 to 4. To stage cancer, providers look at the original cluster of cancer cells and determine where its located, the tumors size and if cancer cells have spread to other areas. The lower the number, the better chance for successful treatments.
Although DCIS is always stage 0, the tumor can be any size and may be located within several milk ducts inside of your breast. Regardless, the prognosis for DCIS with treatment is excellent.
What Are Dense Breasts
Breasts contain glandular, connective and fatty tissue. Breast density is a term used to describe the different proportions of these tissue types as detected by a mammogram. Dense breasts have relatively high amounts of connective and/or glandular tissue and low amounts of fatty tissue. Only a mammogram can show if a woman has dense breasts. Breast density is not related to how the breasts look, feel, their size or firmness.
On a mammogram, connective or fibrous tissue appears white while fatty tissue appears dark. Because breast cancers also appear white, this may make it more difficult for specialists to identify cancer in women with dense breasts. However, even with dense breasts, a screening mammogram is still the most effective method to detect breast cancer early for women over age 50.
Dense breasts also tend to be more common in younger women or women with a lower body mass index. In addition, breast density tends to decrease as women become older.
What Medical Treatments Are There For Breast Lumps And Pain
- When your breast pain is severe enough to interfere with your lifestyle and when it occurs for more than a few days each month, you may be treated with medications.
- Before treatment is begun, document the frequency and severity of your pain daily for at least one to two menstrual cycles.
- This pain diary will also help check your response to treatment.
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What Can I Expect If I Have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
If youve been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, your healthcare provider will discuss your treatment options with you in detail. For best results, youll want to begin treatment as soon as possible.
How curable is invasive ductal carcinoma?
Invasive ductal carcinoma is quite curable, especially when detected and treated early.
What is the survival rate for invasive ductal carcinoma?
The five-year survival rate for localized invasive ductal carcinoma is high nearly 100% when treated early on. If the cancer has spread to other tissues in the region, the five-year survival rate is 86%. If the cancer has metastasized to distant areas of your body, the five-year survival rate is 28%.
Keep in mind that survival rates cannot tell you how long you will live. These numbers are based on people who have undergone breast cancer treatment in the past. For more information about your specific case, talk to your healthcare provider.
What Should A Person With Stage 0 Or Stage 1 Breast Cancer Expect Regarding Treatment
Even though Stage 0 breast cancer is considered non-invasive, it does require treatment, typically surgery or radiation, or a combination of the two. Chemotherapy is usually not part of the treatment regimen for earlier stages of cancer.
Stage 1 is highly treatable, however, it does require treatment, typically surgery and often radiation, or a combination of the two. Additionally, you may consider hormone therapy, depending on the type of cancer cells found and your additional risk factors. Like stage 0, Chemotherapy is often not necessary for earlier stages of cancer.
Material on this page courtesy of National Cancer Institute
Medically Reviewed on April 15, 2020
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I Have Cancer Of The Breast Milk Ductswhat Are My Options
When you think about breast cancer, you probably think about cancer affecting the breast tissue. But you may not be as familiar with cancer of the breast milk ducts, also known as ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS.
Around one in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Of that number, DCIS will account for 20% of overall cases of breast cancer.
If youve undergone a breast MRI and been diagnosed with DCIS, you may be uncertain about what happens next. The good news is: DCIS is treatable and survivable in most cases.
Can Dcis Be Left And Not Treated
Because theres no way of knowing when or if DCIS will become invasive, treatment is usually recommended. Its possible this may lead to unnecessary treatment for some people.
The aim of treatment is to remove all the DCIS from within the breast to reduce the chance of it becoming an invasive cancer.
Research is looking at which cases of DCIS are more likely to develop into invasive breast cancer and which could be closely monitored instead of being treated. If you are diagnosed with low-grade DCIS, you may be invited to join a clinical trial.
If you have any questions or concerns about your diagnosis and treatment, talk to your treatment team.
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What Does Ductal Carcinoma Feel Like
The most common symptom of ductal carcinoma is a firm or hard lump that feels very different from the rest of the breast. It may feel like it is attached to the skin or the surrounding breast tissue. The lump doesnt get smaller or come and go with your period. It may be tender, but its usually not painful.
Dcis And Invasive Breast Cancer
If DCIS is not treated, over time it may spread into the breast tissue surrounding the ducts. It then becomes an invasive breast cancer.
Not every untreated DCIS will develop into an invasive breast cancer. But breast specialists usually advise treating DCIS. This is because it is not possible to tell for certain which individual cases of DCIS will become an invasive cancer.
Having DCIS means you have a slightly higher risk of getting cancer elsewhere in the same breast or in your other breast.
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What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Breast Cancer
The most common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Feeling a lump in the breast area, with or without pain
- Change in breast shape or size
- Dimple or puckering in breast
- A nipple turning inward into the breast
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, especially if it is bloody
- Scaly, red, darkened or swollen skin in the breast area
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Dimple, pitted appearance or feel in the breast area
- Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes around the breast area, including the collarbone and armpits
Although these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, you should check with a doctor preferably a breast health specialist so they can make a definitive diagnosis.
What Does A Clogged Milk Duct Feel Like
“A clogged milk duct usually feels like a lump in the breast, and it can be painful,” lactation consultant Rebecca Costello of In the Flow Lactation tells Romper. And chances are, if you notice a knot, lump, or nodule in your breast, it can make your mind swirl with concern over the dreaded “c-word” whether you’re breastfeeding or not. Anyone who has ever had a brush with this type of fear knows exactly what I’m talking about. Cancer concerns aren’t something to take lightly, but when you’re a nursing mom, breast changes and clogged ducts can be par for the course, so how do you know what you’re dealing with?
“After breastfeeding, when the tissue is softer, clogged milk ducts and any other growths in the breast tissue should be expected to feel more noticeable as the surrounding breast tissue is decompressed and has less pressure in it with the milk having been drained,”Dr. Heather Richardson, M.D., of the Bedford Breast Center tells Romper. “Clogged milk ducts however can vary in their texture, size, and how much pressure you might feel. A breast cancer lump will not undergo changes, and will not come and go, but remain.”
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