A individual’s treatment options and prognosis is dependent on the particular type and progression of the breast cancer.
Most breast cancers are carcinomas, which start in the cells which line cells and organs. More specifically, they tend to be adenocarcinomas, which start in the milk ducts or lobules of milk-producing glands. Less common forms are sarcomas, which start from the cells of connective tissue, fat, or muscle.
When the cancer is described as “in situ,” it means that it hasn’t spread. If it is called invasive or infiltrating, it means the cancer has invaded the surrounding breast tissue.
An important piece of advice, a breast cancer’s grade determines how quickly it’s likely to grow and spread. A grade is decided by checking the cancer cells under a microscope to find out how much the cancer cells look like normal cells. A lesser tier number typically means the cancer is slower-growing and less likely to spread. A higher grade number refers to a faster-growing cancer. The grade helps predict prognosis in addition to helps determine which treatments may work best.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a noninvasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. Since DCIS has not spread, it’s the easiest form of cancer to treat successfully.
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), while the title sounds like cancer, isn’t actually a cancer. In this form, cells that look like cancer cells grow in the lobules of the milk-producing glands but they don’t propagate throughout the lobular wall.
Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) is the most common kind of breast cancer. It starts in a milk duct, spreads through the wall of the duct and invades the fatty tissue of the breast.
Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) starts in the lobules (milk-producing glands) and spreads into outside tissue. These special kinds are often named after specific features that were identified under the microscope. These sub-types include adenoid cystic carcinoma, low-grade adenosquamous carcinoma, medullary carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma, papillary carcinoma, tubular carcinoma, metaplastic carcinoma, Rats in Attic, micropapillary carcinoma, and mixed carcinoma (which has features of both ILC and IDC).
Less Common Types
There are a couple of kinds of breast cancer that occur but are more rare. Inflammatory breast cancer (invasive) accounts for approximately one to three percent of all breast cancers. Another, rarer, kind of breast cancer is Paget disease of the breast, which starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple and areola. There is also Phyllodes tumor, which can be rare breast tumors that develop in the stroma (connective tissue) of the breast. Finally, there’s angiosarcoma, which starts in the cells that line lymph vessels or blood vessels, but rarely happens in the breasts.
Learning About Your Hereditary Breast Cancer Risk
Being educated about any risks to your good health is essential for shaping the way you live. At reveal23, We’re committed to providing individuals with affordable access to genetic cancer testing so you can figure out what your DNA says about your health