common types of breast cancer and their symptoms
Common Types of Breast Cancer and Their Symptoms
Breast cancer is a cancer that develops in the breast cells, causing those cells to multiple uncontrollably. Although it predominantly affects women, breast cancer can also occur in men.
The common symptoms of breast cancer are:
- New lump(s) in the breast or underarm
- Irregular nipple discharge, including blood
- Pain in the breast
- Redness, irritation, or swelling in parts of the breast
There are multiple kinds of breast cancer, some of which present unique symptoms. Certain types of breast cancer attack specific parts of the breast. Each is classified based upon where it occurs and whether or not it is attacking the surrounding tissue.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Breast cancer found in the breast’s milk ducts that has spread to the surrounding tissue.
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma
Breast cancer found in the breast’s lobules that has spread to the surrounding tissue.
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ
Breast cancer that is confined to the breast’s ducts.
Lobular Carcinoma in Situ
Breast cancer that is confined to the breast’s milk-producing lobules.
Uncommon Types of Breast Cancer and Their Symptoms
Certain kinds of breast cancer present unique factors in their symptoms or in their treatment. For older adults and high-risk individuals, it is important to stay informed on the uncommon ways that breast cancer can present itself.
Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Triple-negative breast cancer is a form of breast cancer that lacks the usual receptors of common breast cancer.
The CDC describes breast cancer as a house with three locks. In common breast cancer, the three locks represent three different receptors that can be used to treat the cancer with the corresponding hormones. In triple-negative breast cancer, the cancer cells have none of the three receptors, therefore allowing the cancer to spread faster with fewer options for treatment.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer has unique symptoms:
- Swelling of the lymph nodes in the breast
- Swelling of the breast itself
- Redness and unusual warmth
- Pocked or pitted texture on the skin of the breast
Inflammatory breast cancer spreads quickly due to its aggressive attack of the lymph nodes and surrounding tissue. If you notice excess swelling in the tissue of one or both of your breasts, you should seek a doctor’s opinion immediately.
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic breast cancer is a late-stage (stage IV) form of breast cancer. ‘Metastatic’ refers to the word ‘metastasize’, which is used to describe cancers that have spread from their original organ(s). Metastatic breast cancer is any form of breast cancer that has spread to another organ. Common areas for spread are:
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Older adults and other high-risk individuals are more likely to develop metastatic breast cancer because the symptoms of early breast cancer are easier to miss in those with chronic conditions or other health issues. Certain lifestyle choices can also increase an individual’s chance of developing breast cancer, including excess drinking, obesity, and certain therapies.