Aspirus Regional Cancer Center

Breast Cancer

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer treated at Aspirus and it is estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. New and improved treatments are helping women with breast cancer beat the disease and live longer than ever, but early detection continues to be the best way to beat breast cancer.

Men also are treated for breast cancer, though the disease is rare in men. It is estimated that nearly 1,900 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. this year.

Some risk factors for breast cancer include:
  • Age and gender – Your risk for developing breast cancer increases as you get older and women are 100 times more likely to get breast cancer than men.
  • Family history – You may have a higher risk for breast cancer if you have a close relative who has had breast, uterine, ovarian or colon cancer.
  • Genes – Some people have genes that make them more prone to developing breast cancer.
  • Menstrual cycle – Women who get their periods early (before age 12) or went through menopause late (after age 55) have an increased risk for breast cancer.
  • Childbirth – Women who have never had children or who had them only after age 30 have an increased risk for breast cancer. Being pregnant more than once or becoming pregnant at an early age reduces your risk for breast cancer.
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol use

Prevention & screening

Prevention

Many risk factors for developing breast cancer cannot be controlled, but a healthy diet and lifestyle can go a long way in reducing your risk for the disease. While breast cancer cannot be completely prevented, it is more easily treated when found early.

Types of screening tests

Types of breast cancer screening tests include:

  • Physical exam – Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and risk factors and perform a physical exam of your breasts, armpits, and the neck and chest area.
  • Mammography – This imaging test is the most effective way in detecting breast cancer early.
  • Breast MRI – This imaging test helps identify breast lumps more clearly.
  • Breast ultrasound – This imaging test shows whether a lump is solid or fluid-filled.
  • Breast biopsy – All or part of a breast lump is removed for closer examination, or a needle may be inserted to remove cells from the lump.
  • Lymph node biopsy – Lymph node tissue is removed for closer examination.
  • CT Scan – An imaging test that produces 3D images of the inside of objects.
  • PET scan – This imaging test produces 3D images of the body’s functions.

Symptoms

Early breast cancer rarely causes symptoms, making screening and regular breast exams very important. As the cancer grows, symptoms can include:

  • Lump – A lump may be found on the breast or in the armpit. It can have uneven edges and usually does not hurt.
  • Changes in the size, shape or feel of the breast or nipple – This can include redness, dimpling or puckering of the skin.
  • Fluid coming from the nipple – This fluid can be bloody, clear, yellow or green and looks like pus.

Types of breast cancer

There are several types of breast cancer. The most common type begins in the lining of the ducts and is called ductal carcinoma. Another common type, called lobular carcinoma, occurs in the lobules.

When breast cancer spreads outside the breast, or metastasizes, cancer cells are often found in the lymph nodes under the arm. If the cancer has reached these nodes, it may mean that cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.

Some types of breast cancer, include:
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
  • Infiltrating (or invasive) ductal carcinoma (IDC)
  • Infiltrating (or invasive) lobular carcinoma (ILC)
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) (also called lobular neoplasia)
  • Medullary carcinoma
  • Mucinous carcinoma
  • Paget's disease of the nipple
  • Phyllodes tumor (also spelled phylloides)
  • Tubular carcinoma

Detailed information about breast cancer is available in our online health library.

Treatment

Treatment for breast cancer is based on many factors, including the type and stage of cancer. Most early stage breast cancer cancer can be cured and 70-80 percent of patients with early stage breast cancer are candidates for breast conserving therapy.

Some common treatment options include:

Lumpectomy – The surgical removal of the breast lump.
Mastectomy – The surgical removal of all, or part of the breast and possible nearby structures.

  • Hormone Therapy