Types of Breast Cancer
There are many different types of breast cancer that women, and men can develop in their lifetime. While some lifestyle choice can affect the probability of a person developing breast cancer (for example smoking, diet etc.) there are many more women who live perfectly healthy lives and still find out that they had developed the cancer.
One of the most common types of breast cancer found in women is the Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer. Between 70-80% of all cancers are diagnosed this type. This type of cancer starts in the cells that line the ducts of the breasts, and has spread into the surrounding breast tissue. There are many treatments that doctors offer to remove the cancer and prevent it from developing again – the most common being a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast) and then some course of after treatment, such as radiotherapy or/and chemotherapy. Hormone therapy is also offered to again reduce the chances of the cancer returning.
Invasive lobular breast cancer is another type of cancer, however it usually only is diagnosed in 1 out of 10 women who have developed breast cancer (10%). This is where the cancer has started in the cells that line the lobules of the breast, and has spread beyond the lobules into the surrounding breast tissue. It does not always show up on x-rays or mammograms, and is not usually a firm lump, so can be difficult to diagnose. This type of cancer affects women in middle age – around 45-55 years old.
Another type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). DCIS is a pre-invasive, invasive or intraductal cancer where the cells inside some of the ducts of your breast have started to turn into cancer cells. The have not started to spread into the breast tissue, which means there is a lower chance that the cancer has spread into the person’s lymph nodes and other parts of the body. The main option to remove this cancer is surgery – while some women only have part of the tissue removed, many have a mastectomy to reduce the chances of the cells spreading.
Linking to DCIS is lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). This is where there are cell changes in the breast lobes, and while this is not cancer, there is a higher chance of the cells becoming cancerous in the future. Men can also develop LCIS, however this is usually very rare. While the chances of getting breast cancer when LCIS is developed are low, women who have had these cell changes often opt for more frequent mammograms (every 1 to 2 years) and more frequent breast examination (every 6-12 months).
There are more rare types of breast cancer that very few women develop – including medullary breast cancer (common in women who inherit a faulty copy of the BRCA 1 gene) and inflammatory breast cancer (reddening and swelling of the breast instead of a distinct cancerous lump) being two out of many. Men’s breast cancer, while rare (300 men a year in the UK being diagnosed) can also be very serious – and is treated in the same way, as any other woman would be.