Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women in the U.S. Doctors don't yet know exactly what causes it. Once breast cancer occurs, cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body, making it life threatening. The good news is that breast cancer is often found early, before it has spread.
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast are changed and start to grow out of control. The ducts and the lobules are the two parts of the breast where cancer is most likely to occur.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain and may cause no symptoms at all. Additionally, some breast cancers never cause symptoms or other signs of a problem until they have gotten quite large and are more likely to have spread.
There are some changes that women and men should watch for, including:
- A lump or thickening (a mass, swelling, skin irritation, or distortion) in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A change in the color or feel of the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple (dimpled, puckered, red, swollen, or scaly)
- Nipple discharge, erosion, inversion or tenderness
The lack of early, easily identifiable symptoms makes regular breast exams and screenings essential to detect cancers as early as possible. Crozer Health offers comprehensive breast imaging services, including the following breast imaging modalities.
Types of Breast Cancer
There are several types of breast cancer, including these more common types:
This is the most common type and it begins in the lining of the ducts. When breast cancer has not spread outside of the ducts, it's called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or intraductal carcinoma. This is the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer.
Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS)
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is an area (or areas) of abnormal cell growth that increases a person’s risk of developing invasive breast cancer later on in life. Despite the fact that its name includes the term “carcinoma,” LCIS is not true breast cancer. Rather, LCIS is an indication that a person is at higher-than-average risk for getting breast cancer at some point in the future.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Invasive ductal carcinoma is breast cancer that has spread beyond the walls of the breast ducts. It's the most common type of invasive breast cancer.
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma
This type starts in the milk-producing glands (lobules) and spreads outside the lobules.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
This is a rare form of invasive breast cancer. Usually, there is no lump or tumor. Instead, this cancer makes the skin of the breast look red and feel warm. The breast skin also looks thick and pitted, like an orange peel. In its early stages, inflammatory breast cancer is often mistaken for a breast infection called mastitis.
This is a rare form of breast cancer that begins in the glands in or under the skin. It grows slowly and often doesn’t get diagnosed and treated until it is advanced. It occurs in only one nipple, and causes symptoms that are like a skin infection, such as inflammation, redness, oozing, crusting, itching, and burning.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer
This is a type of breast cancer that doesn’t have estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors, and doesn’t have an excess of the HER2 protein on the cancer cell surfaces. This type of breast cancer tends to occur more often in younger women and in African-American women. It tends to grow and spread faster than most other types of breast cancer. The most common kind is invasive ductal carcinoma.
Request an Appointment
Request an appointment with a breast health expert at one of two Crozer Health Centers for Breast Health or schedule a breast imaging appointment. Crozer Health offers breast health services at two convenient locations in Delaware County.