Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer affecting women (it occurs in men as well but is much less common). However, not all breast cancers are the same. The type of cancer depends on which cells in the breast become cancerous and whether or not they have invaded the surrounding structures.
Breast Cancer Basics
Here are some examples of parts of the breast where cancer begins.
- Milk Ducts – The most common type of breast cancer (ductal carcinoma) originates in the milk ducts. This type of cancer forms in the cells in the lining of the milk duct. The ducts carry breast milk from the lobules, to the nipple.
- Milk-producing Lobules – Less common, is a lobular carcinoma, which starts in the lobules of the breast. The lobules, where milk is produced, are connected to the ducts, which carry breast milk to the nipple.
- Connective Tissue – Rarely, connective tissues in the breast can become cancerous. Cancers originating in the breast are known as a sarcoma. Connective tissues in the breast include muscle, fat and blood vessels.
Regardless of where the breast cancer starts, it should always be treated as quickly as possible.
Invasive vs. Noninvasive Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is also classified by whether it remains local (noninvasive) to the cells in which it originated or spreads (invasive) to surrounding tissues. Invasive ductal carcinoma is the more common type of breast cancer, accounting for 70% of diagnoses.
Analyzing the cancer cells can also help determine how aggressive the cancer is. Clues as to effective choices for chemotherapy or hormonal therapy can also be gleaned from analyzing these cells and their receptors. Surgical removal of the cancer cells is often the most surefire way of ensuring that the cancer does not return.
Breast Cancer Surgery in Apple Valley
Breast cancer care and treatment is complex and can be confusing. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or are concerned that you may have breast cancer please contact Dr. Koeplin to set up your appointment today!