Breast cancer is considered the most common type of non-skin cancer in women and the fifth most common cause of cancer death. It comprises 10.4% of the total cancer cases in women. It is 100 times more common to women but men can get it too. Cancers that originates from milk ducts are called ductal carcinomas while those from lobules are called lobular carcinomas or lobular breast cancer.
Breast cancer is classified into four different schemes:
Stage â is determined by the size of the tumor, if it has spread to the lymph nodes in the armpits and whether or not it has metastasized or has spread to other organs.
Histopathology â is determined by the manifestations of the microscopic examination of the tumor.
Grade â or also known as Bloom-Richardson grade is determined by indentifying if the cancerous cells are low-grade (differentiated), intermediate grade (moderately differentiated) and high grade (poorly differentiated). The latter have the worst prognosis.
Receptor status â since all cells have receptors, cancerous cells may or may not have the three important receptors namely estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER2/neu. Cells with none of these receptors can be treated with drugs to block the estrogen effects and have a better prognosis.
DNA microarrays â will show that hundred of genes in cancerous cells are different from healthy normal ones.
The first symptom that is noticeable in breast cancer is a lump that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue. 80% or more of breast cancers are discovered by the appearance of a lump. A change in breast size or shape may also be a symptom as well as the manifestation of dimples and nipple inversion. Pain can also be a sign but not limited to. The swelling of the breast, warmth and redness are considered to be symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer. There are cases of the presentation of eczematoid skin changes such as redness and mild skin flaking that can be connected to Paget's disease of the breast.
The risk factors of women and/or men to get breast cancer, just like any other cancer diseases, has been identified with age, the lack of childbearing or breastfeeding, high than normal hormone levels, race and dietary iodine deficiency. Individuals who are heavy drinkers and smokers are also at risk of getting this disease as well as other dreaded diseases.
Some say that the daily intake of krill oil or fish oil that has an high content of omega-3 fatty acid may help prevent the risk of getting breast cancer. No sciencentific proof has been confirm but numerous "testing" has shown great results.