Breast cancer forms in the tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.
The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma, which begins in the cells of the ducts. Cancer that begins in the lobes or lobules is called lobular carcinoma and is more often found in both breasts than are other types of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is an uncommon type of breast cancer in which the breast is warm, red and swollen.
Some of the risk factors for developing breast cancer include menstruating at an early age, never having given birth or giving birth at an older age, a family history of breast cancer, taking hormones like estrogen for symptoms of menopause, obesity, a lack of exercise, being white and drinking alcohol.
Signs & Symptoms
Breast cancer may cause any of the following signs and symptoms. Check with your OHC physician if you have any of the following problems:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A dimple or puckering in the skin of the breast
- A nipple turned inward into the breast
- Fluid, other than breast milk, from the nipple, especially if it’s bloody
- Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola (the dark area of skin that is around the nipple)
- Dimples in the breast that look like the skin of an orange, called peau d’orange
The National Cancer Institute recommends that women age 40 and older have screening mammograms every one to two years. If you are at risk, a mammogram before age 40 is recommended.
At OHC, we believe a multidisciplinary approach is the best way to treat your breast cancer. A multidisciplinary team is a group of clinical professionals with different areas of expertise who create your comprehensive plan of care. They develop the plan together, rather than having you see each specialist individually to give their instructions. There is evidence that the team approach reduces delays in treatment and referrals and improves patients’ emotional well-being.
There are different treatment options available for patients with breast cancer, including new treatments being tested in clinical trials. Some of the most common treatments include:
More common treatments include:
- Surgeries such as lumpectomy (remove tumor and some normal tissue around it); partial mastectomy (remove part of the breast and some normal tissue); and total mastectomy (remove the entire breast).
- Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays and other types of radiation to kill cancer cells and keep them from growing.
- Chemotherapy uses drugs to strop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing them or stopping them from dividing.
- Hormone therapy removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing.
- Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances to identity and attack specific cancer cells.
For more information about breast cancer, call us toll free at 1-800-710-4674. If you are a new patient or would like a second opinion, we’d be happy to schedule an appointment for you with one of our doctors.