Breast Cancer in Women
DefinitionBreast cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in the breast tissue. It is the most common cancer in women in the United States. The normal breast consists of glandular tissue called lobes. These lobes are sectioned off into lobules, which produce milk. Milk is carried to from the lobules to the nipple by small ducts. All this tissue is surrounded by fatty and connective tissue, as well as blood and lymph vessels.Types of breast cancer found in women are:
- Ductal carcinoma situ—Early stage cancer confined to the ducts. This type has a high cure rate.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)—LCIS is usually found incidentally, when looking for something else. It is thought to be a marker for breast cancer risk. Women with LCIS seem to have a 7-10 times increased risk of developing some form of breast cancer (usually infiltrating lobular carcinoma) over the next 20 years.
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma—A cancer that starts in the ducts of the breast and spreads into surrounding tissues. This is the most common type of breast cancer in women.
- Infiltrating lobular carcinoma—A cancer that starts in the lobules of the breast and spreads into surrounding tissues.
- Medullary, mucinous, and tubular carcinomas—These are three relatively slower-growing types of breast cancer.
- Inflammatory carcinoma—A rare and aggressive form of breast cancer that can be difficult to treat. This cancer invades the lymphatic vessels of the skin and can be very extensive. It is very likely to spread to the local lymph nodes.
- Paget's disease—A very rare cancer of the areola and nipple. Although Paget's does not arise from glandular tissue in the breast, it can be associated with both in situ and infiltrating breast cancers.
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