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How Serious Is Breast Cancer

Predictors For Breast Cancer Survival Rates

How Serious is DCIS Breast Cancer?

It has to be remembered that every single breast cancer patient has itsown , unique scenario. Thus, prognosis and breast cancer survival rates are a rough guide ONLY.

However, there are consistent predictors for breast cancer survival rates and these include:-

  • The stage of breast cancer at the time of diagnosis
  • The Grade of the breast cancer
  • A patients age at diagnosis

M Categories For Breast Cancer

M followed by a 0 or 1 indicates whether the cancer has spread to distant organs — for example, the lungs, liver, or bones.

M0: No distant spread is found on x-rays or by physical exam.

cM0: Small numbers of cancer cells are found in blood or bone marrow , or tiny areas of cancer spread are found in lymph nodes away from the underarm, collarbone, or internal mammary areas.

M1: Cancer has spread to distant organs .

Staging And Grading Of Breast Cancer

Knowing the stage and grade of the cancer helps your doctors plan the best treatment for you.

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Your specialist doctor needs certain information about the cancer to advise you on the best treatment for you. This includes:

  • the stage of the cancer
  • the grade of the cancer
  • whether the cancer has receptors for hormones or a protein called HER2.

This information comes from the results of all the tests you have had, including:

  • the biopsy, when the tissue was examined
  • other tests that were done on the cells.

Your specialist doctor and nurse will talk to you about this. They will explain how it helps you and your doctor decide on your treatment plan.

We understand that waiting to know the stage and grade of your cancer can be a worrying time. We’re here if you need someone to talk to. You can:

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What Are The Different Grades Of Breast Cancer

There are three grades of invasive breast cancer:

  • Grade 1 looks most like normal breast cells and is usually slow growing
  • Grade 2 looks less like normal cells and is growing faster
  • Grade 3 looks different to normal breast cells and is usually fast growing

Sometimes the grade given to a cancer after a biopsy can change after surgery. This is because after surgery theres more tissue for the pathologist to look at, which can give them more detailed information about the cancer.

The 10 Deadliest Cancers And Why There’s No Cure

AKA Breast Cancer Awareness Serious Matter Survivor

ByAmanda Chan10 September 2010

The dread and fear that can come with a cancer diagnosis have their roots in its killer nature: It’s the No. 2 cause of death in Americans, second only to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even when diagnosed early and attacked with the latest treatments, it still has the power to kill.

To help raise money to find cures and treatments for cancer patients, the “Stand Up to Cancer” telethon will air on ABC, NBC and CBS and other networks and cable stations starting at 8 p.m. ET tonight. The telethon will feature a host of celebrity guests, including George Clooney, Denzel Washington, Renee Zellweger and Will Smith.

“‘Stand Up To Cancer’ represents collaborative efforts” to provide funding for cancer research, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, told MyHealthNewsDaily.

“We would not be where we are if basic and clinical science wasn’t funded,” Lichtenfeld said. “Basic science teaches us about mechanisms, about how drugs may be effective, and we take that info and put it into a clinic to find out whether or not those new ideas work in cancer treatment.”

Cancer cells, and how they grow, remain unpredictable and in some cases mysterious. Even after seemingly effective treatments, crafty cancer cells are able to hide out in some patients and resurface.

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When A Cure For Breast Cancer Isn’t Possible

If breast cancer has been diagnosed in its later stages, the cancer may have spread to the point where a cure is no longer possible. Treatment then focuses on improving quality of life by relieving the symptoms with medication to relieve pain, nausea and vomiting. The Cancer Council Victoria booklet called Advanced Cancer: Living with Advanced Cancer may be helpful to read.

Where Do These Numbers Come From

The American Cancer Society relies on information from the SEER* database, maintained by the National Cancer Institute , to provide survival statistics for different types of cancer.

The SEER database tracks 5-year relative survival rates for breast cancer in the United States, based on how far the cancer has spread. The SEER database, however, does not group cancers by AJCC TNM stages . Instead, it groups cancers into localized, regional, and distant stages:

  • Localized: There is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the breast.
  • Regional: The cancer has spread outside the breast to nearby structures or lymph nodes.
  • Distant: The cancer has spread to distant parts of the body such as the lungs, liver or bones.

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Other Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

Other factors that seem to increase risk include:

  • not having children or having children after the age of 30
  • early age at first period
  • later age of natural menopause
  • alcohol intake
  • obesity or gaining a lot of weight after menopause
  • using the contraceptive pill the risk is higher while taking the pill and for about ten years after stopping use
  • using hormone replacement therapy also known as hormone therapy the risk increases the longer you take it, but disappears within about two years of stopping use.

Having some of these risk factors does not mean that you will get breast cancer. Most women with breast cancer have no known risk factors, aside from getting older. More research needs to be done before we can be definite about risk factors.

In men, the main risk factor is abnormal enlargement of the breasts due to drug, chemical or hormone treatments. Men with Klinefelters syndrome can also be at risk. A mans risk increases where there is a family history of male breast cancer or a strong family history of breast cancer.

How To Sort The Different Types Of Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer In Men — As Serious As In Women

For that reason when you take a look inside the types of breast cancer you find sarcomas, phyllodes, Paget disease, and angiosarcomas. Words that may sound greek to a non-physician person and not very helpful for a common understanding of breast cancer.

Nevertheless, with the same rational that medicine we will manage a classification with simple words for easy understanding. Medicine clasifies the types of breast cancer based on how the specific cells in the breast are affected.

At the end of this article you will find those types but previously we need to know more about carcinomas.

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Surgery As A First Treatment

You may have the whole breast removed . You may be able to have a new breast made . Do speak to your surgeon, they will tell you whether a reconstruction is suitable for you.

You might be able to have breast conserving surgery. This may be possible if you have drug treatment first and the tumour shrinks enough to allow your surgeon to remove just the area of cancer. Before your surgery the lymph nodes in the armpit are checked for cancer cells.

After the surgery you usually have radiotherapy to the breast area.

You might have treatment with chemotherapy for a few months. If your cancer cells have receptors for a protein called HER2 you might have a targeted cancer drug called trastuzumab as well as chemotherapy. You may have this for up to a year.

You usually have hormone therapy for at least 5 years if your cancer cells have hormone receptors.

Tests At The Breast Cancer Clinic

If you have suspected breast cancer you’ll be referred to a specialist breast cancer clinic for further tests. This referral will be because of your symptoms or because your mammogram has shown an abnormality,

Mammogram and breast ultrasound

If you have symptoms and have been referred to a specialist breast unit by your GP, you’ll probably be invited to have a mammogram if you are over 35 years old. This is an X-ray of your breasts. You may also need an ultrasound scan.

If your cancer was detected through the BreastCheck screening programme, you may need another mammogram or ultrasound scan.

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the inside of your breasts. It helps to determine the nature of a lump or of the abnormality. It may be needed to find out if a lump in your breast is solid or contains liquid.

Your breasts are made up of thousands of tiny glands that produce milk. This glandular tissue contains a higher concentration of breast cells than other breast tissue, making it denser.

Dense breast tissue can make a mammogram difficult to read. Lumps or areas of abnormal tissue are harder to spot.

Younger women tend to have denser breasts. This is why mammography is not routinely performed in women under 35 years. As you get older, the amount of glandular tissue in your breasts decreases and is replaced by fat. This means your breasts become less dense.

Biopsy

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What Is Stage 0

Stage 0 is the least invasive stage of breast cancer and usually detected early in patients, according to the American Cancer Society. In this stage, cancer cells or non-cancerous abnormal cells are only in the part of the breast in which they formed and haven’t spread.

“At this stage of breast cancer, we tell patients not to be too worried. Stage 0 is extremely treatable and we ask people not to shed a tear over the diagnosis just yet,” said Cruz.

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Stage Of Breast Cancer

âNone of the 20 Mammograms Caught My Diseaseâ¦â? Popular ...

When your breast cancer is diagnosed, the doctors will give it a stage. The stage describes the size of the cancer and how far it has spread and helps to predict the outlook.

Ductal carcinoma in situ is sometimes described as stage 0. Other stages of breast cancer describe invasive breast cancer:

  • stage is â the tumour is “in situ” and there’s no evidence of invasion
  • stage 1 â the tumour measures less than 2cm and the lymph nodes in the armpit aren’t affected there are no signs that the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body
  • stage 2 â the tumour measures 2-5cm, the lymph nodes in the armpit are affected, or both there are no signs that the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body
  • stage 3 â the tumour measures 2-5cm and may be attached to structures in the breast, such as skin or surrounding tissues, and the lymph nodes in the armpit are affected there are no signs that the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body
  • stage 4 â the tumour is of any size and the cancer has spread to other parts of the body

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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 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 abnormal 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.

Previous Breast Cancer Or Lump

You have a higher risk of developing breast cancer again if you’ve previously had breast cancer. The risk is also higher if you’ve had early non-invasive cancer cell changes in breast ducts. This could have been either in your other breast or in the same breast.

A benign breast lump doesn’t mean you have breast cancer.

Certain changes in your breast tissue, such as cells growing abnormally in ducts , or abnormal cells inside your breast lobules , can make getting breast cancer more likely.

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Testing For Proteins And Genes

The breast cancer cells will be tested for certain proteins called estrogen and progesterone receptors. If the cancer has these proteins, it’s called a hormone receptor positive breast cancer. The cells are also tested to see if the cancer makes too much of the HER2 protein. If it does, it’s called a HER2-positive cancer. These cancers are sometimes easier to treat. If the cancer doesn’t test positive for any of these proteins, it’s called a triple-negative breast cancer.

The cells might also be tested for certain genes, which can help decide if chemo might be helpful and how likely it is that the cancer will come back. Ask your doctor to explain the tests they plan to do, and what the results might mean.

What Are The Stages Of Breast Cancer

Cancer-causing Genes Justin Stebbing / Serious Science

There are two different staging systems for breast cancer. One is called anatomic staging while the other is prognostic staging. The anatomic staging is defined by the areas of the body where the breast cancer is found and helps to define appropriate treatment. The prognostic staging helps medical professionals communicate how likely a patient is to be cured of the cancer assuming that all appropriate treatment is given.

The anatomic staging system is as follows:

Stage 0 breast disease is when the disease is localized to the milk ducts .

Stage I breast cancer is smaller than 2 cm across and hasn’t spread anywhere including no involvement in the lymph nodes.

Stage II breast cancer is one of the following:

  • The tumor is less than 2 cm across but has spread to the underarm lymph nodes .
  • The tumor is between 2 and 5 cm .
  • The tumor is larger than 5 cm and has not spread to the lymph nodes under the arm .

Stage III breast cancer is also called “locally advanced breast cancer.” The tumor is any size with cancerous lymph nodes that adhere to one another or to surrounding tissue . Stage IIIB breast cancer is a tumor of any size that has spread to the skin, chest wall, or internal mammary lymph nodes .

Stage IV breast cancer is defined as a tumor, regardless of size, that has spread to areas away from the breast, such as bones, lungs, liver or brain.

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Breast Cancer Gene Mutation

Mutations in two separate genes for breast cancer have been identified. Fewer than 1% of women have these gene mutations. About 5 to 10% of women with breast cancer have one of these gene mutations. If a woman has one of these mutations, her lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 50 to 85%. The risk of developiing breast cancer by age 80 is about 72% with a BRCA1 mutation and about 69% with a BRCA2 mutation. However, if such a woman develops breast cancer, her chances of dying of breast cancer are not necessarily greater than those of any other woman with breast cancer.

These mutations are most common among Ashkenazi Jews.

Women likely to have one of these mutations are those who have at least two close, usually first-degree relatives who have had breast or ovarian cancer. For this reason, routine screening for these mutations does not appear necessary, except in women who have such a family history.

  • Fewer than 1% of women have the gene mutations for breast cancer.

How Much Do Anastrozole And Exemestane Lower The Risk Of Breast Cancer

Studies have shown that both anastrozole and exemestane can lower the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of the disease.

In one large study, taking anastrozole for five years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 53 percent. In another study, taking exemestane for three years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 65 percent.

The most common side effects seen with anastrazole and exemestane are joint pains, decreased bone density, and symptoms of menopause .

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2018.

References

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What Can Happen If Breast Cancer Remains Untreated

by VeraV | Feb 17, 2014 |

Breast cancer is a serious form of cancer that affects one in eight women in America. Due to an incredible amount of research and many advances in medical technology, being diagnosed with breast cancer is no longer a death sentence. However, it is crucial to note that if left untreated, breast cancer can be quite serious and even deadly. Breast cancer without treatment has a much higher mortality rate than a cancer diagnosis which is caught and treated early. Knowing the risk factors associated with untreated breast cancer is important to really understand the severity of breast cancer and the complications that can occur if it goes untreated.

Untreated Tumors

Breast cancer begins with cancerous tumors or growths in the breast tissue. If the cancer is diagnosed and treated while the tumor is contained, often the prognosis for remission and survival is quite high. However, if left untreated the tumor can quickly grow, allowing more cancerous cells to spread through the body. The cancer begins to grow within the breast tissue and can erode through the skin of the breast. This can lead to an open tumor that is highly susceptible to infection. Untreated tumors are painful, can become infected, and may spread throughout the body. Thus, if the tumours are not treated quickly, they can become serious within a short period of time.

Noninvasive Tumors Versus Invasive Tumors

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Metastasized Cancer

Osteolytic Metastasis

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