Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women and the second most common cause of death. Approximately one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Each year about 235,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
Though rare, men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer as well, with about 2,600 new cases estimated in the U.S. each year.
Through mammography screening and regular examinations, most women today are diagnosed in the initial stages of the disease. Early detection is important, when more treatment options are available and the chance of survival is greater.
Mammography screening combined with clinical breast examinations provides the best chance of finding cancer early and treating it successfully.
More than 80 percent of breast cancer patients are cancer free at 10 years after diagnosis.
Common Types of Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer, while a general name, encompasses many different types of cancer. Breast cancers may start in various parts of the breast and are named accordingly. During a biopsy, cells in the suspected cancerous area are removed and then examined by a pathologist to determine the exact type of cancer.
(DCIS) Ductal Carcinoma INSITU
This form of cancer is diagnosed when malignant cells develop from within the breast milk ducts, but spread no further. Almost always detected by mammogram, this cancer type is often called “non invasive” breast cancer and has an excellent prognosis.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Cancer that has spread beyond the ducts is identified as invasive or infiltrating. Often identified via mammogram or a lump in the breast, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed breast cancer.
Invasive Lobular Cancer
Invasive Lobular Cancer, which starts in the milk producing lobules, is a bit more difficult to feel during an exam or detect through a mammogram, yet has an excellent prognosis for treatment.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
While representing just one to three percent of all cancers, inflammatory breast cancer is highly aggressive and develops rapidly. Most patients will not develop a distinct lump, but, rather, the skin becomes swollen, red, heavy and warm to the touch. This type of cancer blocks the lymph vessels in the skin, which may have a “pitted” appearance, similar to an orange peel. Symptoms may be confused with mastitis, a breast infection.