general information about breast cancer

all information posted is from

Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. It is considered a heterogeneous disease—differing by individual, age group, and even the kinds of cells within the tumors themselves. Obviously no woman wants to receive this diagnosis, but hearing the words “breast cancer” doesn’t always mean an end. It can be the beginning of learning how to fight, getting the facts, and finding hope.

Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except for skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women.

Each year it is estimated that nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. Approximately 1,700 men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die each year. The evaluation of men with breast masses is similar to that in women, including mammography.

Types of Breast Cancer

Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS)

DCIS is a type of early breast cancer confined to the inside of the ductal system.

Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)

IDC is the most common type of breast cancer representing 78% of all malignancies. These lesions appear as stellate (star like) or well-circumscribed (rounded) areas on mammograms. The stellate lesions generally have a poorer prognosis.

Medullary Carcinoma

Medullary carcinoma accounts for 15% of all breast cancer types. It most frequently occurs in women in their late 40s and 50s, presenting with cells that resemble the medulla (gray matter) of the brain.

Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)

Infiltrating lobular carcinoma is a type of breast cancer that usually appears as a subtle thickening in the upper-outer quadrant of the breast. This breast cancer type represents 5% of all diagnosis. Often positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors, these tumors respond well to hormone therapy.

Tubular Carcinoma

Making up about 2% of all breast cancer diagnosis, tubular carcinoma cells have a distinctive tubular structure when viewed under a microscope. Typically this type of breast cancer is found in women aged 50 and above. It has an excellent 10-year survival rate of 95%.

Mucinous Carcinoma (Colloid)

Mucinous carcinoma represents approximately 1% to 2% of all breast carcinoma. This type of breast cancer's main differentiating features are mucus production and cells that are poorly defined. It also has a favorable prognosis in most cases.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and very aggressive type of breast cancer that causes the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast to become blocked. This type of breast cancer is called "inflammatory" because the breast often looks swollen and red, or "inflamed". IBC accounts for 1% to 5% of all breast cancer cases in the United States.


Stage 0 100%
Stage I 98%
Stage II 88%
Stage IIIA 56%
Stage IIIB 49%
Stage IV 16%


Stage 0—Carcinoma in situ

In stage zero breast cancer, atypical cells have not spread outside of the ducts or lobules, the milk producing organs, into the surrounding breast tissue. Referred to as carcinoma in situ, it is classified in two types:
  • Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)— very early cancer that is highly treatable and survivable. If left untreated or undetected, it can spread into the surrounding breast tissue. 
  • Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS)—not a cancer but an indicator that identifies a woman as having an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Stage I—Early stage invasive breast cancer

In stage 1 breast cancer, the cancer is no larger than two centimeters (approximately an inch) and has not spread to surrounding lymph nodes or outside the breast.

Stage II

Stage 2 breast cancer is divided into two categories according to the size of the tumor and whether or not it has spread to the lymph nodes:
  • Stage II A Breast Cancer—the tumor is less than two centimeters(approximately an inch) and has spread up to three auxiliary underarm lymph nodes. Or, the tumor has grown bigger than two centimeters, but no larger than five centimeters (approximately two inches) and has not spread to surrounding lymph nodes.
  • Stage II B Breast Cancer— the tumor has grown to between two and five centimeters (approximately one to two inches) and has spread to up to three auxiliary underarm lymph nodes. Or, the tumor is larger than five centimeters, but has not spread to the surrounding lymph nodes.

Stage III

Stage 3 breast cancer is also divided in to two categories:

  • Stage III A Breast Cancer—the tumor is larger than two centimeters but smaller than five centimeters (approximately one to two inches) and has spread to up to nine auxiliary underarm lymph nodes.
  • Stage III B Breast Cancer— the 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.

Stage IV

In stage 4 breast cancer, the cancer has spread to other organs or tissues, such as the liver, lungs, brain, skeletal system, or lymph nodes near the collarbone.


Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts October 15, 2009 at 4:31 PM  

Wow! What a great post. There is so much good information in this post.

xxxx October 17, 2009 at 10:02 AM  

thanks @tee. breast cancer affects more people than we think and its not until it affects us or someone we are close with that we become proactive, but this is something that we have to try to combat from now, with research and treatment it can happen.