What is Breast cancer?

Breast cancer starts in the tissues of the breast. Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can also appear in men

Stage 0

          Carcinoma in-situ

a.    Ductal carcinoma in-situ

b.    Lobular carcinoma in-situ

Pre-cancerous or marker stage

Stage  I

Stage IA

Stage IB

a. Cancer <2 cms, not spread to surroundings

b.    Small clusters <2 mm of tumour found in lymph nodes with/out tumour of  <2 cms in breast tissues

Early-stage invasive breast cancer

Stage II 

             Stage IIA







a. The tumour is <2 cm and has spread up to 3 auxiliary underarm lymph nodes.
b. The tumour is 2-5 cm large and has not spread to surrounding lymph nodes.
a. The tumour is 2-5 cm and has spread up to 3 auxiliary underarm lymph nodes
b. The tumour is >5 cm and has not spread to the surrounding lymph nodes.

Early cancer





a. The tumour is 2-5 cm and has spread up to 9 auxiliary underarm lymph nodes.


a. Cancer has spread to tissues near the breast including the skin, chest wall, ribs, muscles, or lymph nodes in the chest wall or above the collarbone.

Early cancer
Stage IVCancer has spread to other organs or tissues, such as the liver, lungs, brain, skeletal system, or lymph nodes near the collarbone.Advanced and/or metastatic carcinoma

Breast cancer causes

  • Genetics
    DNA mutations lead to breast cancer. The most common gene changes are those of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
  • Gender
    Being a woman is the main risk for breast cancer. Although men also get the disease(Rare).
  • Age
    About 2 out of 3 women with invasive breast cancer are 55 or older when the cancer is found.
  • Family history
    Those with a family history of breast cancer are more prone to carcinoma. However, over 85% of women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of this disease.

A woman with cancer in one breast has a greater chance of getting new cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast.

  • Race
    White women are more prone. Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women have a lower risk of getting and dying from breast cancer.
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Menstrual periods
    Early menarche and late menopause are associated with breast cancer
  • DES
    Treatment with DES in pregnancy increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Delayed motherhood
  • Infertility
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Long-term use of HRT
  • No breastfeeding
  • Alcohol
  • Obesity
  • No physical exercises

How to know if I have breast cancer

Lumps in the breast

  • usually painless
  • has irregular borders and
  • is firm, too hard to the touch.
  • But sometimes cancers can be tender, soft, and rounded.

Nipple discharge

  • bloodstained or rust-coloured.
  • greenish, yellowish, or even, clear.


  • maybe changed in the size or shape of the breast.
  • All or part of the breast may be swollen.
  • The skin of the breast, areola, or nipple may be scaly, red, or swollen.
  • may have ridges or pit
  • Dimpling of the skin may be present.


  • A change in the appearance
  • any change in the sensation of the nipple
  • nipple turns in or retracted into the breast
  • sinks into the breast,
  • irregular shape
  • Redness
  • Scaliness
  • thickening of the nipple
  • itch or pain

Lump in the Armpit

  • usually firm to hard
  • non-tender
  • irregular in shape
  • fixed to the underlying tissue.

Breast Pain

Weight loss

Bone pain

Skin ulceration

Swelling of one arm.


             This help to identify any lumps, pain, or other symptoms in the breast.

  • Mammograms
  • Ultrasound

              This helps detect small breast cancers that may not be seen on a mammogram.

  • Ultrasound Guided Biopsy

           In case a suspicious mass is detected

  • MRI

             It differentiates between recurrent tumours and scar tissues, the spread of breast cancer. It is particularly helpful in differentiating between DCIS and IDC and between LCIS and ILC.

  • CT Scan

It assists in the evaluation of breast cancer, especially after surgery or chemotherapy.

  • PET

PET  shows if the  lump in the breast is benign or malignant, even without a biopsy

  • Biopsy of the Skin

For the diagnosis of Paget’s disease of the breast.

  • Genetic testing.
  • Blood Marker tests

           Breast cancer markers are CA 15.3, TRU-QUANT, CA 27.29 and CA125

  1. Bone Scans

To detect metastasis in bones

  • Blood Cell tests


  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Biologic therapy


These are due to the hazards of treatment especially radiation therapy.


  • Tamoxifen for high-risk women
  • Prophylactic mastectomy
  • Eat foods and portion sizes that promote a healthy weight
  • Take whole grains instead of refined grain products
  • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day
  • Less intake of processed and red meat
  • Avoid alcohol

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