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Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. Breast cancer mostly occurs in women over the age of 50, and the risk is especially high for women over age 60. Breast cancer is also found to occur more often in white women than African American or Asian women.

Each breast has 15 to 20 sections called lobes. Within each lobe are many smaller lobules (milk producing glands). Lobules end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can produce milk. The lobes, lobules and bulbs are all linked by thin tubes called ducts (milk passages that connect the lobules and the nipple). Fat surrounds the lobules and ducts. These ducts lead to the nipple in the center of a dark area of skin called the areola. There are no muscles in the breast, but muscles lie under each breast and cover the ribs.

Each breast also contains blood vessels and lymph vessels. The lymph vessels carry colorless fluid called lymph, and lead to small bean-shaped organs called lymph nodes. Clusters of lymph nodes are found near the breast in the axilla (under the arm), above the collarbone, and in the chest. Lymph nodes are also found in many other parts of the body.

Cancer cells may enter lymph vessels and spread out along these vessels to reach lymph nodes. Cancer cells may also enter blood vessels and spread through the blood stream to other parts of the body, bypassing lymph nodes. When breast cancer cells reach the lymph nodes, they continue to grow, often causing swelling of the lymph nodes. These swollen lymph nodes sometimes can be felt, especially in the armpit. If breast cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes in the arm pit, there is a greater chance that cancer cells have spread to other organs of the body as well.


There are many factors for developing breast cancers. However, the exact cause is not known. It is suspected that more than one factor is involved. Also the risk of breast cancer increases as a woman gets older.

>Personal history of breast cancer.
> Family history.
>Late childbearing.[after the age of 30]
>Early Menstruation and Late Menopause.
>Breast density.
>Radiation therapy.
>Oral Contraceptives .
>Hormone Replacement Therapy.
>Estrogen pills.(DES)


Detection of a breast lump is the most common symptom of breast cancer. But, almost 90% of all breast masses are caused by benign lesions (non cancerous).

>Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain.

>Lump or mass in the armpit.

>Change in the size or shape of the breast should be examined. The breast should be examined in an upright (sitting) position. The breasts should be inspected for difference in size, withdrawal of the skin or nipple, visible patterns and signs of swelling. In breast cancer, the lump is usually single, separate and hard. In some instances, it is fixed to the skin or the muscle.

>Nipple discharge from a breast carcinoma is usually spontaneous, bloody, associated with a mass and localized to a single duct in one breast. The nipple shows tenderness, or the nipple is pulled back (inverted) into the breast. The nipple should be gently squeezed to check for discharge. It is also associated with redness, swelling or oedema and retraction of the nipple.

>Ridges or pitting of the breast (the skin looks like the skin of an orange).

>Pain, swelling or discomfort in the breast.


>>>Clinical breast exam:

A thorough clinical exam, can reveal any lumps, if formed. A self breast examination can also be done on a regular basis.


A low radiation X-ray called screening mammogram is the best tool available for detecting breast cancer early, before symptoms appear. Mammograms can often detect a breast lump before it can be felt. It also shows small deposits of calcium in the breast. Although most calcium deposits are benign, a cluster of very tiny specks of calcium (called microcalcifications) may be an early sign of cancer.

>>> Ultrasonography:

Using high-frequency sound waves, ultrasonography can often show whether a lump is a fluid-filled cyst (not cancer) or a solid mass (which may or may not be cancer).


MRI is used to define the size and extent of cancer within the breast tissue. It is mostly used in women whose dense breast tissue makes it more difficult to find tumors with a mammogram.

>>>Digital Mammography:

Digital mammography is similar to standard mammography and it uses radiographs to image the breast. The advantage of digital mammography is that images are stored digitally and can be enhanced by modifying the brightness or contrast. These images can be transmitted by telephone lines for remote consultation.


This procedure takes a tissue sample to be examined under the microscope.

>>>Fine needle aspiration:

A thin needle is used to remove fluid and/or cells from a breast lump. If the fluid is clear, it may not need to be checked by a lab.


Breast cancer is classified based on where the cancer has initiated whether in the ducts or in the lobules, whether the cells have invaded (grown or spread) through the duct or lobule, and the way the cancer cells look under a microscope.

[A]:-Carcinoma In Situ :

There are 2 types of breast carcinoma in situ:

[1]:-Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
[2]:-Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS):

[B]:-Invasive Ductal Carcinoma .

[C]:-Invasive Lobular Carcinoma .

[D]:-Medullary Carcinoma.

[E]:-Colloid Carcinoma.


The treatment of breast cancer involves local and systematic treatment. Treatment to the whole body involves systematic treatment, and local treatment involves treatment of breast area and the lymph nodes near it. Sometimes treatment may include more than one type of local or systematic treatment.

Both systematic and local treatment is given in patients where the cancer has spread to other places beyond the breast.

The choice of treatment is based upon many factors which depend upon the extent to which the cancer has spread, characteristics of the cancer, and general health of the patient.

The two local treatments for breast cancer are surgery and radiation.

Surgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer, and there are several types of surgery.

[1]:-Breast conserving surgery
[3]:-Segmental mastectomy.
[4]:-Total mastectomy.
[5]:-Radical mastectomy.


[A]:-Axillary Lymph node dissection.
[B]:-Radiation therapy.
[C]:-External radiation.
[D]:-Implant radiation.




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