Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. It occurs when cells in the breast begin to divide uncontrollably and form a lump or mass called a tumor. These cancerous cells can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.
There are several types of breast cancer, each with their own unique characteristics. These include ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive type of breast cancer. It means that the abnormal cells are confined to the milk ducts and have not spread to surrounding tissue. DCIS is considered noninvasive, meaning that it hasn't spread out of the milk duct but it has the potential to develop into an invasive breast cancer if left untreated.
DCIS is typically detected on a mammogram, and it often appears as a small, dense area or cluster of calcifications. It is considered a stage 0 cancer and is not typically associated with any symptoms, such as a lump or breast pain.
Because DCIS is non-invasive, it is typically treated differently than invasive breast cancer. The standard treatment options for DCIS include surgery, such as a lumpectomy or mastectomy, and radiation therapy. Some cases of DCIS may be treated with hormonal therapy, depending on the patient's hormone receptor status.
It's important to note that not all DCIS cases progress to invasive cancer, but there is no way to know which cases will progress, so most people with DCIS will receive treatment to reduce the risk of progression. Studies have shown that women with DCIS who are treated with surgery and radiation therapy have a very low risk of their cancer returning and a high survival rate.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) is the most common type of invasive breast cancer, accounting for about 80% of all invasive breast cancer cases. It occurs when abnormal cells that start in the milk ducts of the breast invade the surrounding tissue. IDC can be difficult to detect because it often does not present with any symptoms, such as a lump or breast pain. However, it may be detected on a mammogram, an ultrasound, or a biopsy.
IDC is typically staged based on the size of the tumor and whether or not the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. The standard treatment options for IDC include surgery, such as a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Hormonal therapy may also be recommended, depending on the patient's hormone receptor status.
Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC)
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) is a type of invasive breast cancer that starts in the lobules (the glands that produce milk) and then invades surrounding tissue. ILC is less common than invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), accounting for about 10-15% of all invasive breast cancers. It can be more difficult to detect than IDC because it often does not present with a lump and may be found on a mammogram as a thickening of the breast tissue.
Treatment for ILC typically involves a combination of surgical removal of the affected lobe or the entire breast, radiation therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells, chemotherapy to use drugs to destroy cancer cells, and hormonal therapy to target hormone receptors on the cancer cells. The specific treatment plan will depend on various factors, such as the stage of the cancer, the patient's overall health, and their personal preferences. In some cases, a multi-disciplinary approach involving a team of specialists may be recommended to ensure the best outcome.
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)
Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer that causes the breast to become red, swollen, and tender. It can also cause the skin of the breast to appear dimpled or thickened. IBC is considered a stage III or IV cancer and is often misdiagnosed as an infection or other benign condition in its early stages. It can also spread to the lymph nodes quickly and may not present with a lump that can be felt.
Getting the right diagnosis is crucial for IBC. The best breast cancer specialist in India can provide an accurate diagnosis, and recommend the appropriate treatment plan. Surgery is the most common treatment for IBC, and it is usually followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Hormonal therapy may also be recommended for patients with hormone receptor-positive cancer. Some patients may also be candidates for targeted therapies, such as HER2-targeted therapies.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)
Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer that does not have receptors for estrogen, progesterone, or HER2. This makes it more difficult to treat than other types of breast cancer because it does not respond to hormonal therapy or HER2-targeted therapies. TNBC is more common in younger women and women of African descent.
Symptoms of TNBC may include a lump in the breast and changes in the size or shape of the breast. It is typically diagnosed through a breast cancer biopsy, where a small sample of tissue is taken from the breast and examined under a microscope.
The standard treatment options for TNBC include surgery, such as a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Some patients may also be candidates for clinical trials of new treatments.
Vanya Health is a healthcare organization that provides information and support for individuals affected by breast cancer. We offer a range of services, including education, counselling, treatment plans and support for patients and their families. We also provide information on breast cancer treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, as well as alternative therapies. We work with a team of breast cancer specialists and oncologists to provide the best treatment options for our patients.