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Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer



Types of breast cancer

Most breast cancers originate in the breast ducts or lobules:






•   Ductal carcinoma (majority of breast cancers).   Originates in the cells lining the milk ducts.




•   Lobular carcinoma.   Originates in the lobules.

Less common, types of breast cancer include:     Medullary, Mucinous, Tubular, Metaplastic, Papillary breast cancer, Inflammatory breast cancer (a faster-growing type,  ~1 - 5% of all breast cancers), Paget 's disease (cancer begins in the nipple ducts).

Breast cancer metastases

Breast tumour cells can metastasize (i.e. spread) to the axillary lymph nodes and to other organs - most often the bones, brain, liver and lungs.  Breast cancer cells can break away from the primary tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system, where blood or lymph fluids can transport the cells around the body.  The cells can then settle and form new tumors in places far from the original tumor. Commonly, doctors diagnose metastatic breast cancer after previously received treatment for an earlier stage (non-metastatic) breast cancer. When invasive surgery cuts into breast tissue to remove a tumor, there is an obvious risk that cancer cells will enter the bloodstream and metastasize.

A 2018 Finnish / Swedish study examining the routes of metastases in breast cancer (by studying cancer cell DNA) found that metastases do NOT spread from axillary lymph nodes.    " . . . metastases in the axillary lymph nodes do not seem to spread further to other organs, so even if these metastases can show how aggressive the cancer is, it is not they that cause the spread," says Johan Hartman, Associate Professor at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Oncology-Pathology, one of the researchers who led the study. The study also found that in certain cases an early explosion of cancer cells from the breast tumour simultaneously gives rise to metastases in several different organs. The researchers also showed that different regions of the breast tumours caused metastases in specific organs in the body. (Ullah et al, 2018)



Globally.   Breast cancer is the secondmost common cancer killer of women - only lung cancer is more deadly. Currently annually diagnosed in well over a million people globally, and killing about 500,000 people.

In the U.S.   According to the National Breast cancer Foundation, there are 200,000 newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer each year, and 40,000 women each year are dying of this prolific disease. There has been a disturbing increase in the breast cancer rates over the past 50 years.

✔ 1 out of 8 women who live to age 85 will develop breast cancer.

✔ 80% of breast lumps are NON-cancerous.

✔ 70% of breast cancers are found through breast self-exams. Furthermore, research confirms that adding mammograms to a careful breast examination does NOT save lives, and may actually cause breast cancer..

✔ 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer.

✔ Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women age 40 to 55.

✔ 15% of all breast cancers occur in women under age 45.    Generally, they have more aggressive cancers with lower recovery rates.

U.S. Female Breast Cancer Rates by region

(rates per 100,000 people)

The incidence rate for the United States is 121.9.   Incidence rates are highest in the Northeast U.S. Census region (129.6), followed by the West (123.0), Midwest (120.2), and South (118.1).

The death rate for the United States is 22.5.    Death rates are highest in the Midwest U.S. Census region (23.5), followed by the Northeast (22.7), South (22.6), and West (21.0).

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/data/women.htm last updated May 2012

Men are not immune.    Although their odds of having breast cancer are about 100 times less than women; ~1,700 men will develop breast cancer and 450 will die from it each year.

-   Men who work around gasoline and combustion products have a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 2000;37:349-352


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