Certain Microcalcifications Might Even Be Directly Associated With Breast Cancer
BI-RADS mammogram classifications are generalizations and tend to revolve around the presence and type of microcalcifications. Within the range of observations about the various types and patterns of breast tissue microcalcifications present, it may be suggested that coarse heterogeneous microcalcifications are positively associated with breast cancer about 7% of the time and amorphous microcalcifications about 13% of the time.
Fine pleomorphic breast microcalcifications have a positive predictive value for breast cancer of about 30%, while fine linear microcalcifications are associated with confirmed breast cancer in over 50% of cases.
BI-RADS mammogram classifications are not intended as a diagnostic tool, but only as a means of standardizing communications and helping to identify situations where follow-up is required, and the most appropriate type of follow-up. The fastest and most economical way to arrive at a positive or confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer is by core needle biopsy.
Checking The Lymph Nodes
The usual treatment is surgery to remove the cancer. Before your surgery you have an ultrasound scan to check the lymph nodes in the armpit close to the breast. This is to see if they contain cancer cells. If breast cancer spreads, it usually first spreads to the lymph nodes close to the breast.
Depending on the results of your scan you might have:
- a sentinel lymph node biopsy during your breast cancer operation
- surgery to remove your lymph nodes
Types Of Invasive Breast Cancer
Two types account for about 90% of invasive breast cancer.
- Invasive ductal carcinoma . This is the most common type, making up about 80%. With IDC, cancer cells start in a milk duct, break through the walls, and invade breast tissue. It can remain localized, which means it stays near the site where the tumor started. Or cancer cells may spread anywhere in the body.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma . This type accounts for about 10% of invasive breast cancers. ILC starts in the lobules or milk glands and then spreads. With ILC, most women feel a thickening instead of a lump in their breast.
Some women may have a combination of both or a different type of invasive breast cancer.
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Treatment To The Breast
Your surgeon might remove the cancerous area with a border of normal breast tissue. This is called breast conserving surgery or a wide local excision. After this you usually have radiotherapy to the rest of the breast.
Or you might have the whole breast removed. This is called a mastectomy. You can choose to have a new breast made . You might have radiotherapy to the chest wall after having a mastectomy. You might have treatment with radiotherapy to the lymph nodes under your arm or further surgery to remove the nodes if they contain cancer cells.
You can have a breast reconstruction at the same time as surgery to remove the cancer, or at a later time. Having a reconstruction at the same time should not affect you having radiotherapy after surgery if you need it. The plan to have radiotherapy after a reconstruction might affect the reconstruction options you have.
Your surgeon will discuss all the pros and cons with you.
You usually have other treatments too.
Is Inoperable Breast Cancer Still Treatable
Although stage 3C breast cancer is defined as either operable or inoperable, an inoperable diagnosis doesnt necessarily mean that it cant be treated.
The term inoperable may mean that all the cancer in the breast and surrounding tissue cant be removed through simple surgery. When breast cancer is removed, a rim of healthy tissue around the tumor, called a margin, is also removed.
For breast cancer to be successfully removed, there needs to be healthy tissue in all margins of the breast, from your clavicle down to a few inches below the breast mound.
It is possible for inoperable breast cancer to become operable following a treatment to shrink the cancer.
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What Is A Pathology Report
A pathologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing diseases. Pathologists look at tissue from the body that is removed during surgery or a biopsy. You will probably never meet the pathologist, but samples of your breast tissue and lymph nodes will be sent to them for review. The pathologist prepares a summary report of their findings, which is called the pathology report.
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ Biology Biomarkers And Diagnosis
- 1Cancer Genomics Program, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
- 2The Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
- 3Department of Pathology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Ductal carcinoma in situ is an often-diagnosed breast disease and a known, non-obligate, precursor to invasive breast carcinoma. In this review, we explore the clinical and pathological features of DCIS, fundamental elements of DCIS biology including gene expression and genetic events, the relationship of DCIS with recurrence and invasive breast cancer, and the interaction of DCIS with the microenvironment. We also survey how these various elements are being used to solve the clinical conundrum of how to optimally treat a disease that has potential to progress, and yet is also likely over-treated in a significant proportion of cases.
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Classifying Breast Cancer Tumors
In addition to using the numerical stage classifications, healthcare professionals also describe tumors using the tumor, node, metastasis staging system.
In this system, T describes tumor size, N describes the presence of cancer cells in the lymph nodes, and M describes whether or not the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.
Here are the possible classifications for tumor size :
- TX: Healthcare professionals cannot measure primary tumor size.
- T0: Healthcare professionals cannot find a tumor.
- T1: The tumor is smaller than 2 centimeters .
- T2: The tumor measures 25 cm.
- T2: The tumor is larger than 5 cm.
- T4: The tumor has spread beyond the breast tissue and lymph nodes or is inflammatory.
Here are the possible classifications for lymph node involvement :
- NX: Healthcare professionals cannot assess the lymph nodes.
- N0: The cancer has not spread to the surrounding nodes.
- N1, N2, N3: These indicate the number of nodes involved.
Here are the possible classifications for metastasis :
- M0: There is no sign that the cancer has spread .
- M1: The cancer has spread to another area of the body.
- MX: The cancer spread is not measurable.
Since 2018, healthcare professionals have added new cancer characteristics to the TNM staging system that may help guide treatment. These include:
Birads : The Average Time Between Screening And Confirmed Diagnosis Is Usually 2 To 7 Days
Depending upon the radiologists interpretation of the mammogram, there may be more or less urgency in finding out a definitive diagnosis.
On average, for women with a BI RADS category of 3 or 4 on a mammogram, the time interval between initial breast cancer screening and a definitive diagnosis is about 2 days.
However, for women with a BI RADS category of 4 or 5, additional imaging and biopsy studies may be necessary. So the average time interval before a diagnosis is, or ought to be about7 days.
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What Affects Prognosis
There are a number of factors that affect breast cancer prognosis. These include:
- the type of breast cancer
- the grade of the breast cancer
- the size of the breast cancer
For more information see our booklet Understanding your pathology results or visit our pathology report page.
Other factors that may affect your prognosis include your age, menopausal status , lifestyle factors and your general health.
All of these factors will be considered when estimating your prognosis and deciding what treatment youre offered.
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Stage 1 Breast Cancer
What is Stage 1 breast cancer?
Stage 1 breast cancers are still relatively small, and theyve either not yet spread to the lymph nodes or theres only been a tiny bit of spread in the sentinel lymph node which is where the cancer is most likely to spread first. There are two types of Stage 1 breast cancer:
- Stage 1A Stage 1A breast cancer means the tumor is no larger than 2 centimeters, and the cancer has not spread outside the breast or to lymph nodes.
- Stage 1B Stage 1B breast cancer means there are small groups of cancer cells in the lymph nodes. There may or may not be a tumor smaller than 2 centimeters in the breast.
What are the treatment options for Stage 1 breast cancer?
- Surgery Like with Stage 0, a lumpectomy and mastectomy are both options at this stage:
- Lumpectomy This kind of breast conservation surgery is a viable option when the cancerous cells are confined to one area of the breast.
- Mastectomy A mastectomy may be recommended if cancer is found throughout the breast.
Stage 1 breast cancer treatment timeline
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Prognosis For Breast Cancer
The prognosis is the likely outcome of a disease.
If the test results show breast cancer, you may wish to speak with your treatment team about the prognosis.
The doctors will look at the type and stage of the cancer as well as your age and general health to give a prognosis, but no doctor can predict the exact outcome for you.
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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What Makes Up The Breast Tissue
Breast tissue is made up of lobules, which make milk, and ducts, which carry the milk to the nipple. Lobules and ducts are made up of glandular tissue. Glandular tissue helps in the secretion of hormones in the body. Almost all breast cancers start in glandular tissue and these are called adenocarcinomas . Breast cancer starts in a duct or a lobule and this, along with how it looks under the microscope, determines the type of breast cancer it is.
How Is Dcis Diagnosed
A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. Most often, DCIS is found on a mammogram that is used to screen for breast cancer. In rare cases, an individual can feel a lump in the breast or have bloody discharge from the nipple. Your healthcare provider would send you for a mammogram or ultrasound to determine the cause of these symptoms.
If the radiologist sees something on the mammogram that needs more testing, you may need additional tests. These can include repeat mammogram pictures, ultrasound, or biopsy to test the breast tissue. A biopsy is used to diagnose DCIS.
After the biopsy, the tissue sample is looked at by a pathologist and a report is written. A pathologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing diseases by looking at tissue taken from the body. The pathology report gives information about the patient, the reason for the test, and both normal and abnormal findings. DCIS can be classified by grade and how the cells look under the microscope, as well as hormone-receptor status. You should ask for a copy of the pathology report for your records. These are discussed below.
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Oncogene Expression May Negatively Affect Breast Cancer Outcome
A relatively new addition to the discussion of breast cancer survival statistics and prognosis is oncogene expression.
An oncogene is a tiny fragment of genetic material which is carried in a chromosome and can cause normal cells to become malignant.
The oncogene HER-2, in particular, has been linked to more aggressive breast cancers.
Around one-third of all breast tumours produce the HER-2 oncogene, and these patients tend to have higher rates of recurrence and lower overall breast cancer survival rates.
According to a 2013 Canadian scientific study, the overall 5-year survival rate of HER-2 positive breast cancer is 88.6%. Furthermore, the relapse-free survival rate for 5 years is 79.4%.
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.
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What Is A Histologic Grade System
Histology is the study of tissues, including cellular structure and function. Pathologists often assign a histologic grade to a patientÃ¢s cancerous breast tumor to identify the type of tumor present and help determine the patientÃ¢s prognosis . The Scarff-Bloom-Richardson system is the most common type of cancer grade system used today. To determine a tumorÃ¢s histologic grade, pathologists examine the breast cancer cells and their patterns under a microscope. A sample of breast cells may be taken from a breast biopsy, lumpectomy or mastectomy.
Pathologists closely observe three features when determining a cancerÃ¢s grade: the frequency of cell mitosis , tubule formation , and nuclear pleomorphism . Each of these features is assigned a score ranging from 1 to 3 . The scores of each of the cellsÃ¢ features are then added together for a final sum that will range between 3 to 9.
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The Breast Cancer Stages: From 0 To 4
The stage of your cancer will appear on your pathology report, a report that details the size, shape and look of the cancer cells under a microscope. . Most cancers, including invasive breast cancer, have four stages.
Stage 0 is abnormal cells that have not spread beyond the ducts or lobules of the breast, such as DCIS or LCIS, respectively.
Stage I cancer is invasive and spreading beyond where it started.
In Stage IA, the cancer is 2 cm or smaller and has not spread into the lymph nodes or outside of the breast.
In Stage IB, small clumps of cancer cells ranging from 0.2 to 2 mm exist in the lymph nodes. There may not be a tumor in the breast, but if there is, it measures no bigger than 2 cm.
Stage II cancer also has two subcategories. Stage IIA describes a cancer that has spread to 1 to 3 lymph nodes under your arms with or without a tumor up to 2 cm large in the breast, or the breast tumor measures 2 to 5 cm without cancer cells in the axillary lymph nodes.
Stage IIB refers to a tumor between 2 and 5 cm along with cancer in 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes or lymph nodes near the breastbone, or the tumor is larger than 5 cm when no cancer cells exist in the axillary lymph nodes.
In Stage IIIB, the tumor has reached the skin of your breast and/or your chest wall and up to 9 lymph nodes under your arms or near your breastbone.
Inflammatory breast cancer is automatically Stage IIIB or a later stage.
Stage IIIC involves three behaviors of the cancer:
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Invasive Ductal Carcinoma: The Most Common Kind
The most common form of breast cancer is invasive ductal carcinoma , sometimes also called infiltrating ductal carcinoma. About 80 percent of all new breast cancer cases in women, and nearly all breast cancer in men, are IDC. The risk of IDC also increases as people grow older.
IDC starts in the ducts just as DCIS does, but the cancer then grows beyond the ducts and invades, or infiltrates, the fatty tissue surrounding the ducts. Without treatment, the cancer continues to metastasize, or spread, into the lymph nodes and bloodstream.
The options available to treat IDC depend on the type of breast cancer it is, what mutations it does or does not have, how aggressive it is, and other factors. One of the most important of those other factors is the cancer stage.
What Can You Tell Me About Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stages
Staging describes how advanced your cancer is, based on the location, size and how far it has spread. There are five stages of ductal carcinoma:
- Stage 0: The cancer is localized to your milk ducts. This stage is also known as non-invasive ductal carcinoma in situ.
- Stage 1: The cancer has spread outside of your milk ducts to the breast tissue, but it hasnt spread to your lymph nodes. In some cases, the cancer may have spread to your lymph nodes, but not to your surrounding breast tissue.
- Stage 2: The tumor is small and has spread to one to three of your lymph nodes. Or, the tumor is larger, but hasnt spread to any of your lymph nodes.
- Stage 3: The cancer has often spread to more than three of your lymph nodes or is causing inflammation of most of your breast skin, but hasnt spread to other areas of your body.
- Stage 4: The cancer has spread to your other organs, which may include your bones, liver, lungs, brain, chest wall or distant lymph nodes.
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