Breast Cancer: Explained in Detail

Breast Cancer: Explained in Detail


Breast Cancer is a form of cancer that occurs in the breast tissue. Although the breast is made up of similar tissues in both males and females, breast cancer occurs mostly in females.


Like other cancers, breast cancer is an uncontrollable growth of breast cells, and is caused due to the mutation of certain genes present in your breast cells. This mutation can either be genetically inherited, i.e. it might have come from your parents, or it happened during changes in your body, like aging or due to life in general. Breast Cancer can also occur due to hormonal changes in the body, like during menopause.

Breast Cancer: Explained in Detail

Types of Breast Cancer

Breast Cancers can be divided into four types based on the location they occur and whether it is a local one or not.

1. Ductal Carcinoma in Situ, or DCIS

2. Lobular Carcinoma in situ or LCIS

3. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma or IDC

4. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma or ILC

Breast Cancer normally occurs either in the milk duct (Ductal), or in the lobules (Lobular) or glands that make milk. Both can either be “in situ”, meaning it remains where it started and does not spread, or it may be “invasive”, meaning it spreads into the surrounding tissues. Carcinoma is a word used for any cancer that begins in the skins or tissues covering internal organs.

Early Detection

There are no ways to prevent breast cancer. However, breast cancer can be treated effectively if it is detected in an early stage. Self Breast Examination for lumps and unusual changes should be carried out each month, preferably at the same time each month to minimize effects of menstruation. A clinical breast examination should be done once every year from ages 29 – 39, and once every year from the age of 40.


Primary diagnosis is done using mammography, an x-ray of the breast. If breast cancer is suspected or diagnosed, this is followed by MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PET Scans.

Breast Cancer: Explained in Detail


The main form of treatment used for Breast Cancer is surgery. Depending on the size of the tumour, it can be lumpectomy, also known as breast conserving surgery, where only the tumour is removed, or mastectomy, where the entire breast is removed. Both forms of surgery are usually followed by radiotherapy, which is a form of treatment by exposure to radiation, to stop the cancer from spreading. Another major form of treatment is chemotherapy, where treatment is done through various forms of drugs. These drugs interfere with the growth of cancer cells, and thus help curing cancer. Breast cancer can also be treated using hormone therapy, using chemicals to stop activities of certain hormones. Hormone therapy can only be used if the cancer cells are responsive to hormones, and have varied side effects, ranging from vaginal dryness and weak bones to infertility. Even after effective removal of Breast Cancer, patients should be in constant touch with the physician to make sure that the cancer does not return.

Breast Cancer: Explained in Detail

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