What Are The Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle.
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast.
- A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple.
- A change in the look or feel of the skin on the breast or nipple .
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple.
- An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
- A marble-like hardened area under the skin.
These changes may be found when performing monthly breast self-exams. By performing breast self-exams, you can become familiar with the normal monthly changes in your breasts.
Breast self-examination should be performed at the same time each month, three to five days after your menstrual period ends. If you have stopped menstruating, perform the exam on the same day of each month.
Types Of Breast Cancer
There are many types of breast cancer, and many different ways to describe them. Its easy to get confused over a breast cancer diagnosis.
The type of breast cancer is determined by the specific cells in the breast that are affected. Most breast cancers are carcinomas, which are tumors that start in the epithelial cells that line organs and tissues throughout the body. When carcinomas form in the breast, they are usually a more specific type called adenocarcinoma, which starts in cells in the ducts or the lobules .
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.
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Stage 3 Breast Cancer
- Stage 3A:
- The cancer has spread to 49 axillary lymph nodes or has enlarged the internal mammary lymph nodes, and the primary tumor can be any size.
- Tumors are greater than 5 cm, and the cancer has spread to 13 axillary lymph nodes or any breastbone nodes.
What Are The Common Warning Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
- Lump in the breast or armpit discovered during bathing may be the first symptom of breast cancer
- Changes to the nipple and the surrounding area like nipple retraction and inverted nipple.
- Bloody discharge from nipple: If an individual notices blood stains on the bra, and if the secretions are unusual, they may need urgent medical attention.
- Change in color and/or thickening of skin on the breast, dimpling or thickening of breast skin that resembles an orange rind is a warning sign of breast cancer. If the breast skin changes color, typically to a pink or reddish hue that covers more than half the breast, that may also be a warning sign.
- A non-healing sore anywhere on the breast, including the nipple: A red, scaly, flaky nipple, and any persistent skin change, including blood or fluid from the nipple with non-healing sore, may be a warning sign of breast cancer.
- Increased warmth in the breast
- Pain, itching or tenderness in the breast
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Who Gets Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women other than skin cancer. Increasing age is the most common risk factor for developing breast cancer, with 66% of breast cancer patients being diagnosed after the age of 55.
In the US, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer, and it’s the leading cause of cancer death among women ages 35 to 54. Only 5 to 10% of breast cancers occur in women with a clearly defined genetic predisposition for the disease. The majority of breast cancer cases are “sporadic, meaning there is no definitive gene mutation.
What Are The Four Types Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer may be called lobular carcinoma if it begins in glands that make milk, or ductal carcinoma if it begins in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple. The cancer may grow and invade other areas around the breast, such as skin or chest wall.
Different types of breast cancer grow and spread at different rates. Both types of breast cancer may be invasive or non-invasive.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ : DCIS is a noninvasive condition. With DCIS, the cancer cells are confined to the ducts in the breast and have not invaded the surrounding breast tissue.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ : LCIS is cancer that grows in the milk-producing glands of the breast. Like DCIS, the cancer cells do not invade the surrounding tissue.
- Invasive ductal carcinoma : It is the most common type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer begins in the milk ducts and then invades nearby tissue in the breast. Once the breast cancer has spread to the tissue outside milk ducts, it can spread to other nearby organs and tissue.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma first develops in lobules of the breast and then invades nearby tissues.
Apart from above four types, below are few less-common types of breast cancer:
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What Is The Life Expectancy For Stage 3 Breast Cancer
The life expectancy for people with breast cancer is improving, according to the American Cancer Society. It points out that current survival rates are based on people who were diagnosed and treated at least 5 years ago and treatments have advanced over that time.
Your life expectancy with stage 3 breast cancer depends on several factors, such as:
- your age
- the size of the tumors
You should talk with your doctor about how these factors may apply to you.
What Causes Breast Cancer
Breast cancer happens when there are changes in the genetic material . Often, the exact cause of these genetic changes is unknown.
But sometimes these genetic changes are inherited, meaning that you are born with them. Breast cancer that is caused by inherited genetic changes is called hereditary breast cancer.
There are also certain genetic changes that can raise your risk of breast cancer, including changes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. These two changes also raise your risk of ovarian and other cancers.
Besides genetics, your lifestyle and the environment can affect your risk of breast cancer.
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Early Detection Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of a few cancers for which an effective screening test, mammography, is available. MRI and ultrasound are also used to detect breast cancer, but not as routine screening tools.
Ongoing studies are looking at ways to enhance current breast cancer screening options. Technological advances in imaging are creating new opportunities for improvements in both screening and early detection.
One new technology is 3-D mammography, also called breast tomosynthesis. This procedure takes images from different angles around the breast and builds them into a 3-D-like image. Although this technology is increasingly available in the clinic, it isnt known whether it is better than standard 2-D mammography, for detecting cancer at a less advanced stage.
NCI is funding a large-scale randomized breast screening trial, the Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial , to compare the number of advanced cancers detected in women screened for 5 years with 3-D mammography with the number detected in women screened with 2-D mammography.
For example, the Women Informed to Screen Depending on Measures of Risk study aims to determine if risk-based screeningthat is, screening at intervals that are based on each womans risk as determined by her genetic makeup, family history, and other risk factorsis as safe, effective, and accepted as standard annual screening mammography.
Breast Cancer Cell Lines
Part of the current knowledge on breast carcinomas is based on in vivo and in vitro studies performed with cell lines derived from breast cancers. These provide an unlimited source of homogenous self-replicating material, free of contaminating stromal cells, and often easily cultured in simple standard media. The first breast cancer cell line described, BT-20, was established in 1958. Since then, and despite sustained work in this area, the number of permanent lines obtained has been strikingly low . Indeed, attempts to culture breast cancer cell lines from primary tumors have been largely unsuccessful. This poor efficiency was often due to technical difficulties associated with the extraction of viable tumor cells from their surrounding stroma. Most of the available breast cancer cell lines issued from metastatic tumors, mainly from pleural effusions. Effusions provided generally large numbers of dissociated, viable tumor cells with little or no contamination by fibroblasts and other tumor stroma cells.Many of the currently used BCC lines were established in the late 1970s. A very few of them, namely MCF-7, T-47D, MDA-MB-231 and SK-BR-3, account for more than two-thirds of all abstracts reporting studies on mentioned breast cancer cell lines, as concluded from a Medline-based survey.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
The signs and symptoms of breast cancer include
- A new lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the armpit
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A dimple or puckering in the skin of the breast. It may look like the skin of an orange.
- A nipple turned inward into the breast
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk. The discharge might happen suddenly, be bloody, or happen in only one breast.
- Scaly, red, or swollen skin in the nipple area or the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
Medullary Carcinoma Of The Breast
Medullary carcinoma of the breast is another rare subtype of invasive ductal carcinoma . It accounts for around less than 5 percent of all breast cancer cases.
The tumor is typically a soft, fleshy mass rather than a lump in the breast tissue. The mass most often develops in the middle of the breast and is most often found in women with the BRCA1 mutation.
Although these cancer cells often have an aggressive appearance, they dont grow quickly and usually dont spread to the lymph nodes. This makes it easier to treat than some other types of breast cancer.
- the patients preference
Possible treatment options for breast cancer include:
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What Are The Survival Rates For Stage 3 Breast Cancer By Stage
Survival rates can be confusing. Remember that they dont reflect your individual circumstances.
The relative 5-year survival rate for stage 3 breast cancer is 86 percent, according to the American Cancer Society. This means that out of 100 people with stage 3 breast cancer, 86 will survive for 5 years.
But this figure doesnt consider breast cancer characteristics, like grade or subtype. It also doesnt distinguish between people with stage 3A, 3B, and 3C.
In comparison, the relative 5-year relative survival rate for stage 0 breast cancer is 100 percent. For stages 1 and 2, its 99 percent. For stage 4, the survival rate drops to 27 percent.
Advances In Breast Cancer Research
A polyploid giant cancer cell from triple-negative breast cancer.
NCI-funded researchers are working to advance our understanding of how to prevent, detect, and treat breast cancer. They are also looking at how to address disparities and improve quality of life for survivors of the disease.
This page highlights some of the latest research in breast cancer, including clinical advances that may soon translate into improved care, NCI-supported programs that are fueling progress, and research findings from recent studies.
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Outlook For People With Stage 3 Breast Cancer
Its natural to want to know your outlook, but statistics dont tell the whole story. Your breast cancer type, overall health, and many more factors beyond your control may affect treatment outcomes.
Establishing open communication with your treatment team can help you best assess where you are in your cancer journey.
Support groups can be a great source of comfort as you navigate your diagnosis through your treatment and beyond. Your doctors office or hospital can offer some suggestions and resources in your area.
What Is Estrogen Receptorpositive Breast Cancer And Progesterone Receptorpositive Breast Cancer
Cells from your breast cancer can be tested for receptors on two hormones that can fuel cancer growth: estrogen and progesterone. Receptors are special proteins on cells that attach to certain substances, such as estrogen and progesterone, much like a key entering a lock. Breast cancer can contain receptors for one of these hormones, both, or neither.
- Breast cancer with receptors for estrogen is called estrogen receptor positive, or ER positive.
- Breast cancer with no receptors for estrogen is called estrogen receptor negative, or ER negative.
- Breast cancer with receptors for progesterone is called progesterone receptor positive, or PR positive.
- Breast cancer with no receptors for progesterone is called progesterone receptor negative, or PR negative.
If your cancer is ER positive, PR positive, or positive for both estrogen and progesterone receptors, your treatment may include a hormone therapy a drug or drugs that keep these hormones from plugging into their receptors. The idea is to cut off the cancers access to the fuel that would otherwise power its growth, much like putting a child safety cap on an electrical outlet.
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What Are The Types Of Breast Cancer
The most common types of breast cancer are:
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma. This cancer starts in the milk ducts of the breast. It then breaks through the wall of the duct and invades the surrounding tissue in the breast. This is the most common form of breast cancer, accounting for 80% of cases.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ is ductal carcinoma in its earliest stage, or precancerous . In situ refers to the fact that the cancer hasn’t spread beyond its point of origin. In this case, the disease is confined to the milk ducts and has not invaded nearby breast tissue. If untreated, ductal carcinoma in situ may become invasive cancer. It is almost always curable.
- Infiltrating lobular carcinoma. This cancer begins in the lobules of the breast where breast milk is produced, but has spread to surrounding tissues in the breast. It accounts for 10 to 15% of breast cancers. This cancer can be more difficult to diagnose with mammograms.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ is a marker for cancer that is only in the lobules of the breast. It isn’t a true cancer, but serves as a marker for the increased risk of developing breast cancer later, possibly in both or either breasts. Thus, it is important for women with lobular carcinoma in situ to have regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.
What To Know About Breast Cancer Symptoms
The symptoms of breast cancer can vary widely and some types of breast cancer may not have any noticeable symptoms.
Sometimes a lump may be too small to be felt or to cause any changes to your breast or surrounding area. In these cases, cancerous cells are often first detected through screening techniques like a mammogram.
When there are symptoms, they can include:
- a lump or thickening of breast tissue that you can feel with your fingers
- breast swelling or changes to your breast size or shape
- changes to the skin on your breast, such as dimpling, redness, or skin irritation
- the nipple turning inward or nipple pain
- a lump in your underarm area
- nipple discharge other than breast milk
Its important to be familiar with how your breasts usually look and feel. This will help you notice any changes and to follow up with your healthcare professional promptly if anything looks or feels different.
Noninvasive breast cancer develops in the cells of a duct or lobule and remains in that location. Its also referred to as in situ which means in the original place.
There are two types of noninvasive breast cancer:
- ductal carcinoma in situ
- lobular carcinoma in situ
Lets take a closer look at each type.
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Early Detection And Treatment Research
The Breast Specialized Programs of Research Excellence are designed to quickly move basic scientific findings into clinical settings. The Breast SPOREs support the development of new therapies and technologies, and studies to better understand tumor resistance, diagnosis, prognosis, screening, prevention, and treatment of breast cancer.
The NCI Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network focuses on using modeling to improve our understanding of how prevention, early detection, screening, and treatment affect breast cancer outcomes.
The Confluence Project, from NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, will develop a research resource that includes data from thousands of breast cancer patients and controls of different races and ethnicities. This resource will be used to identify genes that are associated with breast cancer risk, prognosis, subtypes, response to treatment, and second breast cancers.
The goal of the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium , an NCI-funded program launched in 1994, is to enhance the understanding of breast cancer screening practices in the United States and their impact on the breast cancer’s stage at diagnosis, survival rates, and mortality.