Important Facts About Breast Cancer
It is unfortunate but nearly everyone will have a relative or loved one affected by the dreaded disease cancer. Cancer can strike virtually any of the internal organs and the skin but breast cancer is one of its most devastating forms. There are three very common forms of breast cancer (ILC, IDC, DCIS) and knowing about them and their symptoms could save someone’s life.
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ or DCIS cancer is responsible for about 20% of all new breast cancer cases. This is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer in women. This disease is caused by cancer cells developing within the breast’s milk ducts.
DCIS doesn’t have many symptoms such as a lump in the breast so it can only be detected by a mammography. For this reason, women should get regular mammographies, at least once a year and every six months for women over forty. Women with a history of cancer in their family may be more likely to develop DCIS and other forms of cancer.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer. There are several subtypes of this disease and the treatment options depend on the size of the mass. If the tumor is less than 4 cm, it be removed and the patient may receive adjuvant therapy consisting of hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
If the tumor is larger than 4cm, the entire breast may have to be removed so early detection is key. IDC can be detected in its early stages by a routine monthly self-exam. It will feel like a firm lump within the breast. This method may detect a tumor far earlier than a mammography which most women only have twice a year at the most.
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma makes up about 10% of all invasive breast cancer cases. It can also be removed by surgery and treated with adjuvant therapy. ILC can also be detected as a lump in the breast by self-exams. ILC has a 5 year survival rate of 85% but it can cost a woman her breasts or her life if it’s not treated immediately.
Breast Cancer Statistics
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women and it’s the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Nearly 40,000 women have already died from breast cancer this year alone and states in the northeast have higher fatality rates. Fortunately, there are also 3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States and new strides for detection and treatment are being made on a regular basis.
Early detection is the biggest factor associated with breast cancer survival. Perhaps this is the reason breast cancer fatality rates have been falling significantly since 1990. Mammograms and self-exams are great ways to detect breast cancer but there are symptoms to watch for such as weight loss, pain in the breasts and skin inflammation. Remember, nearly 13% of American women will develop breast cancer and finding it early could save their lives.