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Breast Cancer Types; Symptoms, Diagnosis and Tests

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women and those assigned female at birth (AFAB). This occurs when cancer cells in the breast grow and become a tumor.

About 80% of breast cancer cases are invasive, meaning the tumor can spread from the breast to other areas of the body. Breast cancer usually occurs in women over the age of 50, but it can also occur in women under the age of 50 and their AFAB individuals. Men and those assigned male at birth (AMAB) can also develop breast cancer.

Types of Breast Cancer

By identifying the type and subtype of cancer, health care providers can tailor treatment to minimize side effects and maximize effectiveness. Some common types of breast cancers are provided below:

Less common breast cancer types include:

Breast Cancer Subtypes

Health care providers classify breast cancer subtypes by the status of the receptor cells. Receptors are protein molecules in or on the cell surface. These can attract or bind to certain substances in the blood, including hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone support cancer cell growth. Determining whether cancer cells have estrogen or progesterone receptors can help health care providers plan breast cancer treatment.

Subtypes include:

Symptoms and Causes

Common signs of breast cancer and things to watch out for.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
This condition can affect the breasts in a variety of ways. Some of the symptoms of breast cancer are very noticeable. Other areas are simply areas that look completely different from the rest of the chest. Breast cancer may also not cause any noticeable symptoms. But when it does, symptoms may include:

What is the cause of breast cancer?
Experts know that breast cancer occurs when breast cells mutate to become cancerous cells, divide and multiply to form tumors. They don’t know what is causing this change. However, research shows that there are several risk factors that can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. These include:

Age: 55+ years
Gender: Women and AFAB patients develop the disease much more often than men and AMAB patients.
Family history: If a parent, sibling, child, or other close family member has breast cancer, you are at risk of developing breast cancer.
Genetics: Up to 15% of breast cancer patients develop breast cancer because they have inherited a genetic mutation. The most common genetic mutations affect the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Smoking: Tobacco use is associated with many types of cancer, including breast cancer.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages: Research shows that consumption of alcoholic beverages may increase the risk of breast cancer. 4,444 people are obese.
Radiation Exposure: You are more likely to develop breast cancer if you have previously had radiation therapy, especially to the head, neck, and chest.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: People who use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are at increased risk of being diagnosed with this condition.

Diagnosis and Testing

How is breast cancer diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider may perform a physical exam or order a mammogram to detect signs of breast cancer. However, the following tests are performed to diagnose the disease:

Breast Cancer Stages

Healthcare providers use cancer staging systems to plan treatment. Cancer staging also helps doctors determine prognosis, or what to expect after treatment. The stage of breast cancer depends on factors such as the type of breast cancer, the size and location of the tumor, and whether the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. The stages of breast cancer are:

Stage 0: The disease is non-invasive, meaning it has not spread from the mammary gland to other parts of the breast.
Stage I: There are cancer cells in nearby breast tissue.
Stage II: Cancer cells have formed one or more tumors. The tumor is less than 2 cm in diameter and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or it is larger than 5 cm and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes. Tumors at this stage are 2 to 5 centimeters in diameter and may or may not affect nearby lymph nodes.
Stage III: Breast cancer is present in surrounding tissues and lymph nodes. Stage III is usually called locally advanced breast cancer.
Stage IV: Cancer has spread from the breast to areas such as the bones, liver, lungs, or brain.

How is breast cancer treated?

The main treatment for breast cancer is surgery, but your healthcare provider may use other treatments. Breast cancer surgeries include:

Your healthcare provider may combine surgery with one or more of the following treatments:

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