What is Breast Cancer and What Are Its Types?

  • Publish date: Thursday، 07 October 2021 Last update: Saturday، 09 October 2021
What is Breast Cancer and What Are Its Types?
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We urge women for early breast cancer detection and advise them on the best approach, whether doing their own physical checks or through recommended medical procedures.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of cells lining the milk ducts or lobes of the breast. Cancerous tumors often form in the milk ducts, sometimes in the lobes, and a very small part of the rest of the tissues.

It is necessary to identify the lymphatic vessels, which are channels that carry a clear fluid that transports tissue waste and immune cells from the breast to small nodes called lymph nodes. Lymphatic vessels often drain to nodes in the armpit area and sometimes to nodes above the collarbone or under the sternum.

Cancer cells can enter the lymphatic channels and spread through them to the lymph nodes and then to other organs of the body through lymphatic vessels or blood vessels.

What are the types of Breast Cancer?

A crucial point to understand about breast cancer is the difference between invasive cell carcinoma and in situ carcinoma, the basic concepts of each will be discussed below.

Invasive Cell Carcinoma

It is the most dangerous of the two types, and it occurs when abnormal cells spread from the ducts and lobes out to the tissues surrounding the breast, allowing the cancer to spread to the lymph nodes and other body organs such as the liver, lungs, and bones in advanced stages.

In the past, it was believed that breast cancer grows orderly, developing from a small tumor in the breast tissue to a larger one. It was also believed that the cancer spreads sequentially to the nearby lymph nodes then to the distant ones, and finally to other body parts. Recent beliefs indicate that cancer cells can move from the breast via the blood and lymph nodes early in the course of the disease. However, cancer cells may not survive outside the tumor range.

In situ carcinoma

When abnormal cells grow within the lobules or milk ducts without spreading to or outside the surrounding tissues, the cancer is called carcinoma in situ. The term “in situ” means in the same location of the abnormal cells, and this expression indicates that the cancer is still “residing” within the ducts and milk orifices where it first originated. There are two main categories of CSI: Ductal Carcinoma and Lobular Carcinoma.

A lthough the word “cancer” is used in the diagnosis, the cells are not completely cancerous because they have not developed the ability to invade tissues outside the ducts or lobes or spread to other organs of the body, so they are often referred to as precancerous either because they can advance to or increase the risk of invasive cell carcinoma.

Why should we care about early detection?

The importance of early detection of breast cancer is to prevent cancer cells from reaching other organs in the body, such as the lungs, which makes treatment more difficult. Cancerous cells spreading to other parts of the body means advanced stages of the disease, therefore, early detection is the most effective way to save your life.