There are many and different types of breast cancer. Every woman should understand everything about it for better prevention of the disease. The 2 major types are lobular carcinoma and ductal breast cancer. They are categorized according to how the cancerous cells behave and where they originate or start in.
Ductal and lobular types are further grouped by doctors into “special” and “non-special” types.
The special types include those that are rare while the more common types are labeled as non-special.
All lobular breast carcinomas are considered special. The ductal breast cancers are generally considered as non-special.
But there are ductal carcinomas that are also classified as special types.
The ductal breast cancers are the most common types of breast cancer in women. Ductal carcinoma starts at the milk tubes or ducts. It has 2 types:
1. Invasive ductal carcinoma or IDC
It is characterized by an increase in number of malignant abnormal cells in the breast tissues. It also comes in different types.
2. Ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS
Ductal carcinoma in-situ is the most common type of non-invasive breast tumor. It is characterized by abnormal cells that are confined in the milk ducts.
The cells are not malignant but they may turn cancerous. In fact, it is also called stage 0 breast cancer.
Symptoms such as lumps don't usually appear. It is only discovered if you undergo mammography.
Will ductal carcinoma in-situ develop into a full-blown invasive ductal carcinoma? Most DCIS cases don't even without treatment. But DCIS is a risk factor for any of the invasive ductal carcinoma types. If left untreated and unchecked, it can become aggressive. That's why some doctors recommend treatment.
How is ductal breast cancer in-situ treated? Surgery is usually recommended to remove the abnormal cells. You may choose between lumpectomy or mastectomy. If you decide on lumpectomy, your doctor will prescribe radiation after your surgery. This is to ensure that abnormal cells missed by surgery will be destroyed.
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Should all women diagnosed with DCIS undergo treatment? If you're older and have a serious medical condition, you may opt to forego surgery. Doing so may be a better option because DCIS usually don't turn invasive.
Lobular carcinoma grows primarily in the milk glands called lobules in your breasts. It is found either in multiple lobules of one breast or in both breasts. It also has 2 types:
1. Lobular carcinoma in-situ or LCIS
Lobular carcinoma in-situ is characterized by abnormal cells that are confined in the milk glands. The abnormal cells in LCIS and invasive lobular carcinoma have the same characteristics: small cells with oval or round nuclei and presence of receptors for estrogen and progesterone.
Most lobular carcinoma in-situ cases are diagnosed among younger women who haven't undergone menopause yet. It doesn't have visible symptoms and is not detected by a mammogram screening unlike the DCIS type. It usually discovered after a biopsy.
How is the LCIS type treated? It doesn't need immediate treatment because LCIS isn't aggressive. But it should be monitored through physical self-examination, check-ups and mammogram screening because it may develop into a full-blown cancer within the next 15 years after diagnosis. If you choose to get treated, the doctor may recommend bilateral mastectomy or the use of anti-estrogen meds such as tamoxifen.
2. Invasive or infiltrating lobular carcinoma
Infiltrating lobular carcinoma is one of the invasive types of breast cancer. A usual symptom is a hardening in the area above the nipple, which is one of the inflammatory breast cancer symptoms.
The different types of breast cancer prove that the disease is really complex.
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