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Why Do We Get Breast Cancer

Types Of Breast Cancer In Men

Why Are So Many Young Women Getting Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer can be separated into several types based on the way the cancer cells look under the microscope. In some cases a single breast tumor can be a combination of these types or be a mixture of invasive and in situ cancer. And in some rarer types of breast cancer, the cancer cells may not form a tumor at all.

Breast cancer can also be classified based on proteins on or in the cancer cells, into groups like hormone receptor-positive and triple-negative.

Ductal carcinoma in situ

Ductal carcinoma in situ is considered non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. In DCIS , cells that lined the ducts have changed to look like cancer cells. The difference between DCIS and invasive cancer is that the cells have not spread through the walls of the ducts into the surrounding tissue of the breast . DCIS is considered a pre-cancer because some cases can go on to become invasive cancers. Right now, though, there is no good way to know for certain which cases will go on to become invasive cancers and which ones wont. DCIS accounts for about 1 in 10 cases of breast cancer in men. It is almost always curable with surgery.

Infiltrating ductal carcinoma

Infiltrating lobular carcinoma

This type of breast cancer starts in the breast lobules and grows into the fatty tissue of the breast. ILC is very rare in men, accounting for only about 2% of male breast cancers. This is because men do not usually have much lobular tissue.

Paget disease of the nipple

Inflammatory breast cancer

How Much Do Tamoxifen And Raloxifene Lower The Risk Of Breast Cancer

Multiple studies have shown that both tamoxifen and raloxifene can reduce the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in healthy postmenopausal women who are at high risk of developing the disease. Tamoxifen lowered the risk by 50 percent. Raloxifene lowered the risk by 38 percent. Overall, the combined results of these studies showed that taking tamoxifen or raloxifene daily for five years reduced the risk of developing breast cancer by at least one-third. In one trial directly comparing tamoxifen with raloxifene, raloxifene was found to be slightly less effective than tamoxifen for preventing breast cancer.

Both tamoxifen and raloxifene have been approved for use to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in women at high risk of the disease. Tamoxifen is approved for use in both premenopausal women and postmenopausal women . Raloxifene is approved for use only in postmenopausal women.

Less common but more serious side effects of tamoxifen and raloxifene include blood clots to the lungs or legs. Other serious side effects of tamoxifen are an increased risk for cataracts and endometrial cancers. Other common, less serious shared side effects of tamoxifen and raloxifene include hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.

Myth: Consuming Too Much Sugar Causes Breast Cancerfact: There Is No Evidence That Sugar In The Diet Causes Breast Cancer

Not just with breast cancer but with all types of cancer, theres a common myth that sugar can feed the cancer and speed up its growth. All cells, whether cancerous or healthy, use the sugar in the blood as fuel. While its true that cancer cells consume sugar more quickly than normal cells, there isnt any evidence that excessive sugar consumption causes cancer.

There was a study in mice that suggested excess sugar consumption might raise the risk of breast cancer,3 but more research is needed to establish any link in animals as well as in people.

That said, we do know that eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, and being overweight is an established risk factor for breast cancer. In addition, some studies have linked diabetes with a higher risk of breast cancer especially more aggressive, later-stage cancers. Researchers arent sure if the link is due to that fact that people with diabetes tend to be overweight, or that they have higher blood sugar levels.

For health reasons, its always a good idea to cut down on desserts, candy, cakes, sweetened beverages, and processed foods that contain sugar. Reading labels is important, as many foods can have hidden added sugars like high-fructose corn syrup.

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What Are The Stages Of Breast Cancer

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.

What Are The Signs Of Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer: Optimal Screening, Why We Dont Get it And ...

A woman who has breast cancer may have no problems, or she may find a painless lump in her breast. If women examine their breasts monthly, they can help find lumps or other changes that a doctor should examine.

Most breast lumps are not cancer, but all lumps should be checked out by a doctor to be sure. Breast lumps that are not cancer may be scar tissue or cysts or they can be due to normal breast changes associated with hormone changes or aging.

Girls who are beginning puberty might notice a lump underneath the nipple when their breasts start developing. Usually, this is a normal. You can ask a parent or your doctor about it to be sure.

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Cosmetic Implants And Breast Cancer Survival

A 2013 review found that women with cosmetic breast implants who received a diagnosis of breast cancer also had a higher risk of dying from the disease.

This could be due to the implants masking cancer during screening or because the implants bring about changes in breast tissue.

However, a published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal found that having cosmetic breast implant surgery did not increase the risk of breast cancer.

Scientists need to carry out more research to confirm the link.

There are several different types of breast cancer, including:

  • Ductal carcinoma: This begins in the milk duct and is the most common type.
  • Lobular carcinoma: This starts in the lobules.

Invasive breast cancer occurs when the cancer cells break out from inside the lobules or ducts and invade nearby tissue. This increases the chance of cancer spreading to other parts of the body.

Noninvasive breast cancer develops when the cancer remains inside its place of origin and has not yet spread. However, these cells can sometimes progress to invasive breast cancer.

A doctor often diagnoses breast cancer as the result of routine screening or when a woman approaches her doctor after detecting symptoms.

Several diagnostic tests and procedures help to confirm a diagnosis.

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.

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The Lymph System Of The Breast

The lymph system is important to understand because it is one of the ways that breast cancers can spread. This system has several parts.

Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped collections of immune system cells that are connected by lymphatic vessels. Lymphatic vessels are like small veins, except that they carry a clear fluid called lymph away from the breast. Lymph contains tissue fluid and waste products, as well as immune system cells. Breast cancer cells can enter lymphatic vessels and begin to grow in lymph nodes.

Most lymphatic vessels in the breast connect to lymph nodes under the arm . Some lymphatic vessels connect to lymph nodes under the breast bone and either above or below the collarbone .

If the cancer cells have spread to these lymph nodes, there is a higher chance that the cells could have also gotten into the bloodstream and spread to other sites in the body. The more lymph nodes with breast cancer cells, the more likely it is that the cancer may be found in other organs as well. Because of this, finding cancer in one or more lymph nodes often affects the treatment plan. Still, not all men with cancer cells in their lymph nodes develop metastases to other areas, and some men can have no cancer cells in their lymph nodes and later develop metastases.

Benign breast conditions

Men can also have some benign breast disorders.

Gynecomastia

Myth: Breast Cancer Only Happens To Middle

Why do you get Breast Cancer?

It is true that being female and growing older are the main risk factors for developing breast cancer. In 2017, about 4% of invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in women under age 40, while about 23% were diagnosed in women in their 50s and 27% in women ages 60 to 69.6 While 4% might sound small, it isnt zero: This percentage means that one in every 25 invasive breast cancer cases occurred in women under 40.

Women of all ages need to pay attention to their breasts, perform self-exams, and report any unusual changes to their doctors and insist that breast cancer be ruled out if theres a concerning symptom. Even some doctors buy into the myth that women in their 20s and 30s dont get breast cancer. Women with a strong family history of breast cancer, especially cancers diagnosed in relatives before age 40, may wish to start screenings sooner.

Breast cancer is even rarer in men, but it does happen. People often think that men cant get breast cancer because they dont have breasts but they do have breast tissue. Male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of all breast cancers diagnosed in the U.S. In 2019, about 2,670 men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease.7 Even though male breast cancer is rare, it tends to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage because breast changes and lumps typically dont lead men and their doctors to think breast cancer. Changes in male breasts need to be checked out, too.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer May Include:

  • A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple
  • Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
  • Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
  • A newly inverted nipple
  • Peeling, scaling or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple or breast skin
  • Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange

Inherited Versus Acquired Dna Mutations

Normal breast cells become cancer because of changes in DNA. DNA is the chemical in our cells that makes up our genes. Genes have the instructions for how our cells function.

Some DNA mutations are inherited or passed to you from your parents. This means the mutations are in all your cells when you are born. Some mutations can greatly increase the risk of certain cancers. They cause many of the cancers that run in some families and often cause cancer when people are younger.

But most DNA mutations linked to breast cancer are acquired. This means the change takes place in breast cells during a person’s life rather than having been inherited or born with them. Acquired DNA mutations take place over time and are only in the breast cancer cells.

Mutated DNA can lead to mutated genes. Some genes control when our cells grow, divide into new cells, and die. Changes in these genes can cause the cells to lose normal control and are linked to cancer.

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Breast Cancer Risk Factors

The main risk factors for breast cancer include being a woman and getting older . Uncontrollable factors that may increase risk include personal/family history, race, breast density and menstrual period history. In addition, having changes in certain breast cancer genes increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

Certain risk factors are lifestyle-related, including the use of birth control pills, hormone therapy after menopause, having children, drinking alcohol, being overweight or obese, and not being physically active. Having one or several risk factors does not mean a woman will develop breast cancer. Women need to become familiar with all of the risk factors. For those they can control, they need to make smart lifestyle decisions that can lower the risk, said Tuite.

To lower risk of breast cancer:

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight. Balance your food intake with physical activity to avoid excess weight gain.
  • Be physically active. Every week, get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity .
  • Limit or avoid alcohol. The ACS recommends that women have no more than one alcoholic drink per day.

There Are Things We Can Do To Take Charge Of Our Breast Health

Tips for Breast Cancer Patients

There are no guarantees against breast cancer, but there are ways to reduce your risk. Getting exercise and minimizing alcohol are a great start. For new, soon-to-be, and some-day moms, breastfeeding can also reduce your risk. People at higher risk may be able to take medication or even get surgery to bring their risk down. And we can all increase our chances of surviving breast cancer if we get it by taking action to catch any problems early. That means understanding our risk, getting on a regular screening schedule and getting checked out if we ever notice a change in our breasts.

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Understanding Your Risk Of Breast Cancer

Several breast cancer risk assessment tools have been developed to help a woman estimate her chance of developing breast cancer. The best studied is the Gail model, which is available on the National Cancer Institutes website at www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool. After you enter some personal and family information, including race/ethnicity, the tool provides you with a 5-year and lifetime estimate of the risk of developing invasive breast cancer. Because it only asks for information about breast cancer in first-degree family members and does not include their ages at diagnosis, the tool works best at estimating risk in women without a strong inherited breast cancer risk. For some women, other ways of determining the risk of breast cancer may work better. For example, women with a strong family history of breast cancer risk should consider talking to a genetic counselor.

It is important to talk with your doctor about how to estimate your personal risk of breast cancer and to discuss risk-reducing or prevention options .

Risk Factors You Cannot Control

Risk factors you cannot control include:

  • Age. Your risk for breast cancer increases as you age. Most cancers are found in women age 55 and older.
  • Gene mutations. Changes in genes linked with breast cancer, such as BRCA1, BRCA2, and others increase your risk. Gene mutations account for about 10% of all breast cancer cases.
  • Dense breast tissue. Having more dense breast tissue and less fat breast tissue increases risk. Also, dense breast tissue can make tumors hard to see on mammography.
  • Radiation exposure. Treatment involving radiation therapy to the chest wall as a child can increase your risk.
  • Family history of breast cancer. If your mother, sister, or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, you have a higher risk.
  • Personal history of breast cancer. If you have had breast cancer, you are at risk for breast cancer coming back.
  • Personal history of ovarian cancer.
  • Abnormal cells found during biopsy. If your breast tissue was examined in a lab and had abnormal features , your risk is higher.
  • Reproductive and menstrual history. Getting your period before age 12, starting menopause after age 55, getting pregnant after age 30, or never getting pregnant all increase your risk.
  • DES . This was a drug given to pregnant women between 1940 and 1971. Women who took DES during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage had a slightly higher risk. Women exposed to the drug in the womb also had a slightly higher risk.

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