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Breast Cancer Types
There are approximately 12 types of breast cancer:
1. Adenocarcinoma: This type of cancer develops in the glandular tissue formed by ducts and lobules. Because the cancer can occur in both ducts and lobules, there are two main forms of adenocarcinoma: ductal carcinomas and lobular carcinomas.
2. In situ: In situ is a term used to define the first cancer stage when the cancer remains confined to the area where it began (ducts or lobules) and did not spread to other nearby breast tissues or to other organs in the body.
6. Infiltrating (or invasive) lobular carcinoma (ILC): This type of cancer starts in the milk-producing glands or lobules and can spread to other organs of the body. About 10% of the invasive cancer forms are infiltrating lobular carcinoma.
7. Inflammatory breast cancer: This is an uncommon invasive breast cancer type that occurs in just 1% to 3% in the breast cancer female patients. The main characteristic of this type is that cancer cells block the lymph vessels or channels in the skin causing the breast skin to become red with a thick, pitted appearance that is warm to the touch.
8. Medullary carcinoma: This is a special type of infiltrating breast cancer, characterized by: a well defined and distinct boundary between tumor tissue and normal tissue, the cancer cells have a large size, and cells of the immune system are present at the edge of the tumor. Almost 5% of breast cancer is medullary carcinoma.
9. Mucinous carcinoma or colloid carcinoma: This is a rare type of invasive breast cancer and is formed by mucus-producing cells.
10. Paget disease of the nipple: This breast cancer is rare with only 1% of the breast cancer cases are the Paget type. This type of cancer develops first in the breast ducts and later spreads to the skin of the nipple and then to the areola (a dark circle around the nipple). The clinical signs of this cancer are: (1) crusted, scaly, and red skin on the nipple and areola, (2) areas of bleeding or oozing on the skin, and sometimes (3) burning or itching sensations in this region.
11. Phyllodes tumor: This is another rare type of breast cancer that develops in the stoma (the fat and connective tissue that surround the ducts, the lobules, blood and lymphatic vessels). Usually, phyllodes tumors are benign tumors and only in rare occasions they can be malignant. If the tumor is benign, it will be treated by removing the mass and narrow margin of normal breast tissue. If the tumor is malignant, it will be treated by removing the tumor with a wider margin of normal tissue or by masectomy.
12. Tubular carcinoma: This is another special type of infiltrating breast carcinoma, named after the shape of cancer cells. Almost 2% of the breast cancer cases are tubular carcinoma.
Article by Alina Morrow, MS
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