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Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

      Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. Today, it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
A biopsy of the breast is the only concrete way to determine if a breast lump is cancerous. A biopsy will often be performed after the breast lump is found and examined by a doctor, or after it has been detected in a mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound and other imaging tests may be performed prior to a biopsy.
Most women diagnosed with breast cancer undergo some form of treatment. Many different treatment options are available. What treatment is undergone depends on several factors, for example the stage of the cancer, the size and location of the breast tumor and results of many associated tests.

Types of Breast Cancer

- Recurrent or Metastatic Breast Cancer
This refers to breast cancer that has either recurred, or breast cancer that has been caused by the metastasis of cancerous cells from another part of the body to the breast.

- Inflammatory breast cancer
This is an uncommon type of breast cancer (under 4% of breast cancer cases) that also involves the skin of the breast.

- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
This is the type of breast cancer where the earliest possible clinical diagnosis of breast cancer is achieved, often using screening mammography. Most patients with this early form of breast cancer are unaware they have it and have exhibited few, if any, symptoms. It is considered a noninvasive breast cancer, and it usually takes between 5-8 years to develop invasive breast cancer from ductal carcinoma in situations.

- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma
This is the most common type of invasive breast cancer. It accounts for over 70 percent of all breast cancer cases. It is characterized by a hard lump that has irregular borders and appears set in surrounding breast tissue.

- Infiltrating lobular carcinoma
This type of breast cancer accounts for less than 5 percent of all invasive breast cancer cases. It occurs most frequently between the ages of 45-55, and often does not show up in mammograms. Thirty percent of the time, this cancer will also be found in the other breast.

The types and stages of breast cancers varies widely and have a strong impact on breast cancer survival rates. Excellent websites are available on the Internet offering information, support and treatment information for all types of breast cancer.

Network of Strength offers excellent resources for those dealing with the disease, a diagnosis of the disease or a family member with breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute provides outstanding online sources for breast cancer information and support services.

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