Cancer has always been a major healthcare challenge and breast cancer is the most frequent type of cancer in females in the Western world. Cancer is a disease of cell and breast cancer is a disease where the cells of the breast grow in a way that is not normal. The breast consists of fatty tissues, lobules, and ducts. Milk during the breastfeeding is made in the lobules and it travels through the ducts to the nipple. There are also lymph nodes which are located near the breast in the armpit and they act as a filter that clean the blood. This type of cancer can start from different parts of the breast but most breast cancer begins in the ducts and some cancer start in the lobules. The uncontrolled growth of the cells in the breast is often felt as a lump and it is essential to understand that most breast lumps are benign and not malignant. But some benign lumps highly increases the risk of developing breast cancer. When the cancer cells get into the lymph system, it can spread to other parts of the body. When cancer cells spread to the lymph nodes, it increases the risk that the cells could have traveled through the lymph system to other parts of the body.
Types of Breast Cancer
1. Early stage breast cancer
Early stage breast cancer is described as a type of cancer that is restricted to the breast, with or without the involvement of lymph nodes and the absence of metastatic disease. Metastatic cancer is a disease in which the cancer cells spread to other parts of the body such as liver, lungs, bone, and brain. The early stage breast cancer is potentially curable and the treatment of this cancer always include surgical removal of the breast tumor and the removal of some axillary lymph nodes.
2. Ductal Carcinoma in Situ
Ductal carcinoma in situ, also known as intraductal carcinoma is a non-invasive breast cancer that occurs in the milk ducts. It is a type of breast cancer in which the proliferation of malignant ductal epithelial cells remains confined within breast ducts. Ductal carcinoma in situ develops when abnormal changes in the cells in the milk ducts of the breast occurs and it is important to treat this condition as soon as possible as if it is left untreated, it can change into invasive breast cancer which can spread outside the ducts. This type of cancer affects a large part of the breast and its treatment includes the removal of the entire breast. The risk factors for developing ductal carcinoma in situ include a family history of breast cancer, nulliparity, and older age at the birth of first child.
3. Lobular Carcinoma in Situ
Lobular carcinoma in situ is a type of cancer that develops in the lobule, the area of the breast where the milk is made. It develops when the normal lining of the cells in the breast begins to grow unusual and fills the entire lobule. Most often, lobular carcinoma in situ stays within the lobule of the breast. It is also known as non-invasive breast cancer as it is confined to the lobule in the breast.
4. Metastatic breast cancer
Metastatic breast cancer is not actually a type of breast cancer but it is an advanced stage of the breast cancer. It is a breast cancer that spreads to other parts of the body and most commonly it spreads to the bones, liver, lungs, and brain. It is also known as stage IV of breast cancer and in the United States, a large number of females are living with metastatic breast cancer. Fatigue or extreme tiredness is one of the most common symptoms of metastatic breast cancer and doing a lot of rest can also not help in this situation. Depression and sleeping disorders are said to be the main cause of fatigue. People suffering from metastatic breast cancer often experience depression and sleeping disorders.
Causes of Breast Cancer
The development of breast cancer involves various types of genes that need to be activated or inactivated in order to promote malignancy. The pathogenesis in the gene alteration with respect to tumor progression is not clear yet but according to numerous studies, a large number of alterations have been identified in breast cancer. Studies suggest that changes in DNA can convert normal breast cells into the cancer cells. Hormones also play a role in the occurrence of breast cancer. Various lifestyle factors also increase the risk of developing breast cancer such as eating habits, smoking, and physical activity. It is known that all of the above factors contribute to the development of breast cancer but how they affect is not yet understood. It is still not clear, what exactly causes alterations in the cells.