What is Breast Cancer?

ImageHappy October!  As you all know by now it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! I would like to share some articles with you about research, findings in new breast cancers, and the latest treatments.  This will be the first of many posts regarding kicking breast cancer’s ass!

Did you know that more than 226,870 new cases of breast cancer expected to be diagnosed this year in women and 2,190 cases in men, yes guys you are subject to this deadly disease as well, according to Huffington Post article.  Breast cancer is the number 2 cause of death in women with lung cancer being number one.

What is Breast Cancer?

Cancer is a malignant cell that replicates rapidly in the breast, beginning usually in the ducts (where milk comes through during breast feeding).   It may take years to form the nodule that is felt by either you or your doctor during your annual exam.  To be proactive against breast cancer it is imperative that you get your annual exams and do a monthly self-exam about two weeks prior or after your menstrual cycle.  Knowing your own breast is your first defense against this deadly disease.  If you find a lump, regardless of size or your age, make an appointment with your doctor.  It is better to be safe than end up with stage IV cancer because it was ignored.

Check your-self!

Breast Cancer Staging

According to Florida Hospital Cancer Institute (FHCI)

The stage of your cancer is based on the size of the tumor, the invasive or non-invasive status, lymph nodes involvement and whether the cancer has spread beyond the breast.

By organizing these factors and other selected characteristics of the cancer, breast cancer specialists at the FHCI can make informed decisions about your treatment (including clinical trial eligibility) and better understand your prognosis. The staging creates a universal method for healthcare professionals around the world to communicate about breast cancer.

 Stage 0 (carcinoma in situ)

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): The abnormal cells haven’t yet spread outside the lining of the duct into other tissues in the breast. In some cases, DCIS could become invasive cancer and spread to other tissues, although there’s no way to predict which lesions will become invasive.

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): Abnormal cells have been found in the lobules of the breast. Seldom does it become a form of invasive cancer. However, the mere presence of lobular carcinoma in situ in one breast increases the risk of developing breast cancer in either breast.

Stage I

Stage I marks the formation of cancer. The tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has not yet spread outside of the breast.

Stage IIA

In stage IIA –

  • ·No tumor has been found in the breast but it has been found in the axillary lymph nodes (they are under your arm); or
  • ·The tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes; or
  • ·The tumor is largerer than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and has not yet spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

Stage IIB

In stage IIB –

  • ·Larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes; or
  • ·The tumor is larger than 5 centimeters, but hasn’t spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

Stage IIIA

In stage IIIA –

  • ·No tumor can be found in the breast. But cancer is found in axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may be found in lymph nodes near the breastbone; or
  • ·The tumor is 2 centimeters or less. Cancer has also spread to the axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone; or
  • ·The tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph node that are attached to each other or other structures, or the cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone; or
  • ·The tumor is larger than 5 centimeters. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that may be attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Stage IIIB

In stage IIIB, the tumor may be any size, but the cancer –

  • ·Has spread to the chest wall and/or skin of the breast; and
  • ·May have spread to the axillary lymph nodes that may be attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Cancer has also spread to the skin of the breast is known as inflammatory breast cancer. See the section on inflammatory breast cancer for more information.

Stage IIIC

In stage IIIC there may be no sign of cancer in the breast or the tumor can be of any size. It may have spread to the chest wall and/or skin of the breast. Also, cancer –

  • ·Has spread to lymph nodes above or below the collarbone; and
  • ·May have spread to axillary lymph nodes or to lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Cancer which has spread to the skin of the breast is known as inflammatory breast cancer. See the section on inflammatory breast cancer for more information.

Stage IIIC breast cancer is divided into operable and inoperable stages.

In the operable stage IIIC, the cancer is found in:

  • ·Ten or more axillary lymph nodes; or
  • ·Lymph nodes below the collarbone; or
  • ·Axillary lymph nodes as well as those near the breastbone.

In the inoperable stage, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes above the collarbone.

Stage IV

The cancer has spread to other organs of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain.

Next is  treatment……..

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