Cancer is one of those ailments that continue to claim lives as there are no complete treatment methods to cure it completely. Cancer can affect any part of the body and can be treated only when it is diagnosed in the initial stages. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the country. According to the statistics of the American Cancer Society (ACS), every year, nearly 232,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed. Also, another appalling fact about breast cancer is that it affects men as well. The ACS also estimated that in the year 2015, more than 2,000 men were diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 400 were predicted to die of this condition.
However, breast cancer is more common among women than in men, and what makes the condition formidable is that there are no exact causes for the development of breast cancer. Though the causes of breast cancer remain shrouded in mystery, identifying the symptoms of breast cancer can help women seek medical help immediately, and possible cure it in time.
Symptoms of breast cancer
It is essential to know that the symptoms of breast cancer are not quite prominent in the initial stages. When one feels a tumor growing in the breast, it may be too small to be identified and can be only seen on a mammogram. There are different types of breast cancer and each of these display different symptoms. However, some of the symptoms can be common among the different types of breast cancer. They are as follows:
- Pain in the breasts
- Lump in the breasts or tissues thickening that feels different than the surrounding tissue and has developed recently
- Discharge from the nipple other than breast milk
- Red, pitted skin over the entire breast
- Bloody discharge from the nipple
- Peeling, flaking, scaling of the skin on the nipple or the breast
- Inverted nipple
- Sudden, unexplained change in the size of the breast
- Lump or swelling under the arm
- Changes in the appearance of the skin on the breasts
In case any of these symptoms are visible, it might not be necessarily breast cancer. It is essential to visit the doctor and undergo a physical examination and testing to determine whether it is breast cancer or not.
Types of breast cancer
There are different types of breast cancer which fall under two main categories: invasive and non-invasive or in situ. Invasive cancer is that form of cancer that has spread from the breast ducts or glands to other parts of the breast, whereas, noninvasive cancer does not spread from the original tissue.
The different forms of breast cancer that fall under these categories are as follows:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ– The ductal carcinoma (DCIS) is a non-invasive form of breast cancer. In this form of cancer, the cells that lines the ducts in the breast change and look cancerous.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ– This form of breast cancer develops in the milk-producing glands of the breasts. As this is a non-invasive form of cancer, the surrounding tissue remains untouched by the cancer.
- Invasive ductal carcinoma– This is the most common form of breast cancer and begins in the breast’s milk ducts and invades the nearby tissue in the breast. Once this cancer spreads outside the milk ducts, it can start affecting the nearby organs and tissue.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma– This form of breast cancer first develops in the breast lobules and later spreads to the nearby tissue and organs.
The other less common forms of breast cancer includes Paget disease of the nipple, Phyllodes tumor, and angiosarcoma.
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