Breast cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the breast tissues. It is also the most diagnosed cancer among women in the world, with an estimated two million new cases a year (2018 Global Cancer Observatory statistics).
Although breast cancer can occur in both women and men, it is more prevalent among women.
Types of Breast Cancer
There are different types of breast cancer, with the most common ones including:
Invasive Breast Cancers: These types of breast cancers spread from the lobules or ducts to the surrounding breast tissue
In Situ Breast Cancers: These remain where they started and have not yet spread to surrounding tissue. However, they can metastasize to other areas.
Types of Invasive Breast Cancers
There are different forms of invasive breast cancer, with two types accounting for about 90% of all invasive breast cancer cases. These are:
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC): IDC, which affects the milk ducts, and spreads to other areas of the breast tissue, makes up about 80% of all invasive breast cancer cases.
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC): This type of breast cancer accounts for an estimated 10% of all invasive breast cancers and originates from the milk ducts and spreads to other breast tissues, and sometimes to other parts of the body. Common sub-types of ILC include:
- Mucinous Carcinoma
- Medullary Carcinoma
- Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma
- Tubular Carcinoma
- Papillary Carcinoma
- Metastatic breast cancer
- Inflammatory breast cancer
- Paget’s Disease
Types of In Situ Breast Cancers
Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS): This type develops in the milk-producing lobules. Although it is not considered as a true cancer, there is a high probability that one may develop true breast cancer in future.
Ductal carcinoma In Situ (DCIS): This is when the cancer is still confined to the milk ducts. However, if left untreated, it can spread to other areas of the breast tissue, hence becoming invasive.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Breasts that are tender to the touch
- A lump in the breast
- Fever (if you have periductal mastitis)
- Nipple discharge
- Swelling and pain
- Nipple retraction
- Skin irritation
- Nipple redness
- Scaling of the skin or nipple
Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
In most instances, breast cancer is diagnosed during a routine breast screening or mammogram. During your diagnosis, the specialist will do a physical exam to feel for the presence of any lumps. And to confirm the presence of breast cancer cells, other tests are also ordered. These include:
- An ultrasound scan
- Breast X-ray (mammogram)
- Biopsy (tissue sample is removed from breast for analysis)
- Punch biopsy of the skin (if there are any changes to the skin or nipple)
Breast Cancer Treatment
Breast cancer treatment is usually dependent on:
- The aggressiveness of the cancer
- Stage of the cancer
- Tumor size and location
- Age and overall health
- History of breast cancer in the family
- Gene mutation test results
Treatment options for breast cancer include:
Surgery: This can involve either a lumpectomy, mastectomy, of sentinel node biopsy. After the surgery, the patient may opt for breast reconstruction, which depends on the amount of breast tissue the surgery has removed.
Radiation Therapy: Uses powerful X-rays energy to destroy localised cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: Involves the use of drugs to destroy any remaining fast-growing cancer cells.
Hormone Therapy: This is used in cases where the breast cancers have hormonal sensitivity. The therapy blocks the hormonal stimulus in breast cancer cells.
At King’s College Hospital Dubai, we focus on offering an exemplary service. From initial consultation through to final diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Our multidisciplinary team of expert doctors and nurses, and technologists led by Dr Hassan Ghazal – an American triple board-certified Consultant Medical Oncologist and a Consultant Clinical Hematologist with more than 3 decades of clinical experience, are here to offer tailored management and treatment of your condition, and to answer any questions that you may have throughout your time with us. Whatever you need us for, we’re only a phone-call away.
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