What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is cancer that develops in the tissues of the breast. There are two main types of breast cancer:
1. Ductal carcinoma begins in the milk ducts and is by far the most common type of breast cancer.
2. Lobular carcinoma begins in the milk-producing lobules.
Both types of breast cancer can be either in situ (non-invasive) or invasive (spread to other parts of the body).
In general, breast cancer is more common in women over the age of 50, although it can occur at any age. Other risk factors for developing breast cancer include a family history of the disease, being overweight or obese, drinking alcohol, taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and having dense breast tissue.
Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women worldwide, with an estimated 1.38 million new cases diagnosed in 2018 1. In the United States, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women after skin cancer. 2 An estimated 26,730 women in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer in 2018.
Although the majority of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50, the disease can affect women of all ages. In 2018, it is estimated that 2,550 breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in women under the age of 40, and 410 breast cancer deaths will occur in women under the age of 40.
Different types of breast cancer
There are several different types of breast cancer, which are classified based on the appearance of the cancer cells under a microscope and the specific genes that are mutated. The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma, which begins in the cells lining the milk ducts. Other types of breast cancer include lobular carcinoma, which begins in the milk-producing glands, and inflammatory breast cancer, which is characterized by red and swollen breast tissue.
Breast cancer: Diagnosis and treatment
Breast cancer can be diagnosed through several different methods, including mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and biopsy. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that can detect tumors that are too small to be felt. An ultrasound uses sound waves to create a image of the breast, and can be used to determine if a mass is solid or filled with fluid. An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create a detailed image of the breast. A biopsy is the removal of a small sample of tissue for analysis.
There are a number of different treatment options for breast cancer, depending on the stage of the disease and the individual’s health and preferences. These include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.