How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Lobular Breast Cancer
Healthcare providers may do the following tests to diagnose this condition:
- Mammogram. This test is a low-dose X-ray that detects abnormalities in your breast tissue.
- Ultrasound. This imaging test uses sound waves to capture pictures of your breast tissue. Ultrasound may be used as a standalone test or in combination with mammography.
- Magnetic resonance imaging . Your healthcare provider may request an MRI, which uses radio waves and magnets to take detailed pictures inside of your body.
- Biopsy. In order to confirm the cancer is present, your healthcare provider may take a small sample of breast tissue and send it to a pathology lab for analysis.
What are the stages of invasive lobular carcinoma?
Healthcare providers use cancer staging systems to plan treatment. Invasive lobular carcinoma is divided into four stages. Staging is based on several factors, including the size of the tumor, where its located and how far it has spread:
Why Does Metastatic Breast Cancer Happen
Most often, metastatic cancer occurs because treatment didnt destroy all the cancer cells. Sometimes, a few cells remain dormant, or are hidden and undetectable. Then, for reasons providers dont fully understand, the cells begin to grow and spread again.
De novo metastatic breast cancer means that at the time of initial diagnosis, the breast cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. In the absence of treatment, the cancer spreads.
There is nothing you can do to keep breast cancer from metastasizing. And metastatic breast cancer doesnt happen because of something you did.
Factors Influencing Metastatic Breast Cancer Prognosis
There are several factors that can impact the prognosis of metastatic breast cancer, these include:
- Hormone receptors on cancer cells
- The type of tissue involved
- The number of tumors/extent of metastasis
- A persons overall attitude and outlook on the prognosis
Of course, no factors can accurately predict the exact prognosis for a person with metastatic breast cancer. These statistics are based on many clinical research studies, looking at survival rates for people diagnosed with breast cancer at all stages. But the prognosis of each person is different, regardless of what the statistics indicate.
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Treatment For Stage 1 Breast Cancer
Doctors can offer a variety of treatment options for stage 1 breast cancer, although surgery is the primary treatment.
A lumpectomy or mastectomy are both viable surgical options for people with stage 1 breast cancer. A doctor will decide what surgery is most appropriate depending on the location of the primary tumor, how large it is, the size of the breast, family history, genetics, and the persons preference.
Radiation therapy is a standard treatment for stage 1 breast cancer. However, a doctor may not recommend radiation therapy for people over 70 years old, particularly if hormone therapy is suitable.
If the breast cancer is ER+ or PR+, hormone therapy may be effective. Hormone therapy works by preventing the growth of estrogen, which helps cancer grow. Hormone therapy can reach cancer cells in the breast as well as other areas of the body and reduces the risk of the cancer coming back.
Before recommending chemotherapy, a doctor will test to see whether the cancer is hormone receptive.
If the test results show that the cancer is not receptive to estrogen and progesterone or to another protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 , it is known as triple-negative breast cancer .
Hormone therapy is ineffective against this cancer type, and people who have TNBC will usually need chemotherapy.
Intrinsic Subtypes And Late Recurrence
A number of different methods have been evaluated for the ability to predict late recurrence. Some of these include:
Higher expression of estrogen-responsive genes: A 2018 study found that people with ER+/HER2 negative breast cancers who had higher expression of estrogen-responsive genes and were not treated with extended hormonal therapy had a high risk of recurrence after five years.
Multigene assays: Several multigene assays may help predict late recurrence, but using this information to figure out when to extend hormonal therapy requires more research. A 2018 evaluation of an 18-gene, 10-year signature found that the information regarding prognosis was similar to other tests including Oncotype DX Recurrence Score, Prosigna PAM50 risk of recurrence score, Breast Cancer Index and IHC4.
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The Myth And Stigma Of The 5
Many people still believe that breast cancer, even hormone-positive disease, is essentially cured after five years this can lead to misunderstandings in families. Loved ones who donât understand late recurrence may downplay your feelings, or criticize you when you think âbrain tumorâ each time you get a headache.
Until information on late recurrence becomes more widely known, and even though itâs frustrating, you may need to educate loved ones about the risk, and why you should be concerned when you develop new or unexplained symptoms.
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How Grade Affects Treatment Options
Your treatment team will consider the grade of your cancer when deciding which treatment to offer you.
If you have grade 3 breast cancer, youre more likely to be offered chemotherapy. This is to help destroy any cancer cells that may have spread as a result of the cancer being faster growing.
Chemotherapy is less likely for grade 1 and grade 2 cancers.
The grade of your cancer alone will not determine what treatment youre offered. Your treatment team will consider the grade alongside all other information about your cancer when deciding on the best treatment options for you.
Find out more about breast cancer and prognosis.
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What Does It Mean To Have Stage 1 Breast Cancer
In Stage 1 breast cancer, cancer is evident, but it is contained to only the area where the first abnormal cells began to develop. The breast cancer has been detected in the early stages and can be very effectively treated.
Stage 1 can be divided into Stage 1A and Stage 1B. The difference is determined by the size of the tumor and the lymph nodes with evidence of cancer.
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 Tumor Factors Threaten My Life More
There are important tumor biology factors not well reflected in survival statistics by breast cancer stage. Below we list a few important factors that carry a higher risk to life beyond just the stage of cancer. You must ask your surgeon or medical oncologist to explain your receptor status and give you a copy of your biopsy pathology report.
Triple Negative Receptor breast cancer
Triple negative breast cancer is considered a more aggressive breast cancer. Invariably it does require chemotherapy. If you have triple negative breast cancer the risk of dying is higher than the standard statistics usually quoted for a particular stage of breast cancer . Learn more about Triple Negative Breast Cancer with our video lesson
HER2-Positive breast cancer
HER2-positive breast cancers are also more aggressive tumors. But the good news is that we now have incredibly effective, targeted chemotherapy and immunotherapy for HER2-positive cancers. Our video lesson covers HER2-Positive Breast Cancer in more detail .
Breast Cancer at a Young Age
Women younger than 40 have a higher chance of being diagnosed with a more advanced stage breast cancer. Also, the specific cancer type younger women develop has a higher chance of being more aggressive . As a result, age is a relative risk factor for survival.
Untreated breast cancer
Teaching everyone to be an expert in their own breast cancer care.
Treatment For Stage 4 Breast Cancer
Typically, treatment for stage 4 breast cancer includes a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy .
Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the protein that allows cancer cells to grow and this type of therapy may also be an option for people with stage 4 breast cancer.
Sometimes, surgeons will operate to try and remove tumors though this is not usually the first option for treatment.
Doctors, however, may recommend surgery to help with pain relief by treating some of the issues that may develop as a result of having stage 4 breast cancer. These include spinal cord compression, removing single masses caused by metastasis, and fixing any broken bones.
A doctor may also prescribe medication to treat related symptoms such as:
- antidepressants to help mood
- anticonvulsants to manage pain or neurologic conditions
- local anesthetics to manage pain
New treatments and therapies are emerging all the time, and anyone who has breast cancer at any stage can volunteer to try out these new treatments. People considering this should talk to their doctor to see whether any trials are available in their area.
Trials for a new treatment called immunotherapy are currently taking place. Immunotherapy works by raising the bodys natural ability to fight off cancer and has fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
As well as numbers, a zero or an X often follow the letters T, N, and M. According to the AJCC, the meanings are as follows:
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Stage 0 Breast Cancer
What is Stage 0 breast cancer?
Stage 0 breast cancer is when the cells that line the milk ducts have become cancerous. This type of cancer is called ductal carcinoma in situ , or non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer.
At this stage, the cancer has not spread to surrounding tissues. And while its considered non-invasive, its important to remember that it can still become invasive and spread beyond the milk ducts if it isnt treated.
What are the options for Stage 0 breast cancer treatment?
- Surgery Breast surgery is often the first step at Stage 0. Depending on the size of the tumor, how fast the cancer appears to be growing and your personal preferences, there are two types of surgical options:
- Lumpectomy A lumpectomy is a targeted surgery that removes the lump or tumor in question, and a small amount of normal tissue around it. This is commonly referred to as breast conservation surgery . In the United States, most women with Stage 0 breast cancer undergo a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy.
- Mastectomy If the cancer has spread throughout the ducts and affects a large part of the breast, doctors may recommend a mastectomy. With this surgery, the entire breast is removed and possibly some lymph nodes as well.
What is the Stage 0 breast cancer treatment timeline?
Diagnostic Tests That Inform The Clinical Stage
Many methods are used to detect and stage cancer. Some of the common tests include:
Biopsy: The doctor uses a needle to extract breast tissue or fluid, which is then sent to a lab. There, various techniques are used to examine different attributes, such as hormone receptor or HER2 status.
Tumor markers: Rapidly dividing cancerous cells interrupt some of the normal mechanisms of cell growth. This causes the cell to overproduce certain molecules. Lab tests detect these compounds, known as tumor markers, in blood or tissue samples.
Imaging techniques: Several different scans are used to examine characteristics of your cancer. Below are some of the noninvasive imaging techniques you might encounter:
- MRI scans use magnets and radio waves to generate detailed pictures of your tissues.
- CT scans use X-rays to look at your organs. Nuclear scans trace the flow of an injected safe radioactive dye in your body.
- PET scans are similar to nuclear scans but specifically examine glucose consumption in the bodysince cancer cells use more glucose than normal cells.
- Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to see inside your body.
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Stage 1 Breast Cancer
Stage 1 is the first of the following stages in which breast cancer becomes invasive and damages surrounding tissue.
At this early stage, tumors are small and the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.
Under the arms, the lymph nodes do not have cancer cells. In later stage breast cancer, the lymph nodes are one of the first areas of the body outside the breast to be affected by breast cancer.
Stage 1 breast cancer responds well to treatment. This is why breast screening is important particularly in women over 40 years of age who are more likely to be affected by breast cancer when they reach 50.
Whats The Risk Of Recurrence
Everyone who has had breast cancer has some risk of recurrence, but its typically low.
In general, the more time that goes by, the lower the risk of recurrence. Cancer is most likely to recur in the first two years after treatment, and once people get to five years of living cancer-free after treatment, its considered to be a significant milestone to be celebrated. Recurrence after that five year markrare, but possibleis called late recurrence.
Theres still so much that is unknown about cancer recurrence, but researchers have found some patterns in recent years that point to clues about why it happens. These factors might be linked to a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence:
- Having high blood sugar
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
- Having had a surgical site infection after your surgery
Certain characteristics of your original cancer also might mean a higher risk of recurrence, such as:
- A tumor of more than five centimeters across
- Cancer cells that are HER2-positive
- Cancer cells that are triple negative
- Cancer cells in four or more axillary lymph nodes at the time of surgery
- Cancer cells in the chest muscles or breast skin
You might be at higher risk for late recurrence if you had:
- A tumor of more than two centimeters
- A high number of affected lymph nodes
- A hormone receptor-positive cancer
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Receptor Status Of Breast Cancer Cells
Breast cancer cells are tested to determine whether they have any of the following receptors:
- Estrogen receptors: estrogen receptor-positive or estrogen receptor-negative status
- Progesterone receptors: progesterone receptor-positive or progesterone receptor-negative status
- HER2 : human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative status
The type of treatment thats recommended for stage 1 breast cancer will depend on a variety of factors, such as:
Is Breast Cancer Curable
When caught early, breast cancer is extremely treatable. Currently, the average five-year relative survival rate for invasive breast cancer is 90%. But when the cancer is localized, meaning theres no sign the cancer has spread outside of the breast, that rate is 99%.
Relative survival rate compares people with the same type and stage of cancer to the overall population. This is what the American Cancer Society uses to talk about survival rates.
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What Does Cancer Grade Mean
Breast cancers are given a grade according to:
- How different the cancer cells are to normal breast cells
- How quickly they are growing
The grade of a cancer is different to the cancer stage.
A cancers grade is determined when a doctor looks at the cancer cells under a microscope, using tissue from a biopsy or after breast cancer surgery.
How The Breast Cancer Staging Process Starts
The breast cancer staging process begins with diagnostic testing. Depending on previous screening results, if any breast cancer symptoms are present, and other factors, your doctor may recommend one of the following tests:
- Diagnostic mammogram A mammogram involves using an X-ray to take photos of your breast tissue at different angles. To do this, your breasts are gently compressed between two plates so the X-ray can be taken.
- Ultrasound An ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging test that bounces soundwaves of your breast tissue to create a picture of the inside of your breast.
- MRI An MRI is another non-invasive imaging test that uses radio waves and a magnetic field to create an image of your breast tissue. This can help doctors determine the size and placement of tumors.
- Biopsy A biopsy removes small masses and growths from your breast so they can be examined under a microscope by a pathologist and determine if theyre cancerous.
If cancer is detected, a CT scan may be ordered to look for any distant metastasis or local invasion to other organs. And youll likely be connected with a breast surgeon right away, either through a nurse navigator or your doctor.
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