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Breast Cancer


أبحاث علمية ومعرفية مفيدة

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									                            Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women and the second
leading cause of cancer death (exceeded by lung cancer in 1985). Breast
cancer is three times more common than all gynecologic malignancies put
together. The incidence of breast cancer has been increasing steadily from
an incidence of 1:20 in 1960 to 1:7 women today.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 211,000 new cases of
invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed this year and 43,300 patients will
die from the disease. Breast cancer is truly an epidemic among women
and we don't know why.

Breast cancer is not exclusively a disease of women. For every 100
women with breast cancer, 1 male will develop the disease. The
American Cancer society estimates that 1,600 men will develop the
disease this year. The evaluation of men with breast masses is similar to
that in women, including mammography.

The incidence of breast cancer is very low in the twenties (age) gradually
increases and plateaus at the age of forty-five and increases dramatically
after fifty. Fifty percent of breast cancer is diagnosed in women over
sixty-five indicating the ongoing necessity of yearly screening throughout
a woman's life.

Breast cancer is considered a heterogenous disease, meaning that it is a
different disease in different women, a different disease in different age
groups and has different cell populations within the tumor itself.
Generally, breast cancer is a much more aggressive disease in younger
women. Autopsy studies show that 2% of the population has undiagnosed
breast cancer at the time of death. Older women typically have much less
aggressive disease than younger women .

Early onset of menses and late menopause: Onset of the menstrual cycle
prior to the age of 12 and menopause after 50 causes increased risk of
developing breast cancer.

Diets high in saturated fat: The types of fat are important.
Monounsaturated fats such as canola oil and olive oil do not appear to
increase the risk of developing breast cancer like polyunsaturated fats;
corn oil and meat.

Family history of breast cancer: Patients with a positive family history of
breast cancer are at increased risk for developing the disease. However,
85% of women with breast cancer have a negative family history!

Family history only includes immediate relatives, mother, sisters and
daughters. If a family member was post-menopausal (fifty or older) when
she was diagnosed with breast cancer, the lifetime risk is only increased
5%. If the family member was premenopausal, the lifetime risk is 18.6%.
If the family member was premenopausal and had bilateral breast cancer,
the lifetime risk is 50%.

Women with a significantly positive family history of premenopausal
breast cancer should begin screening mammography a decade sooner than
their family member was diagnosed. BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 gene testing
can identify those patients at increased risk, genetically, for developing
not only breast cancer but also a variety of epithelial tumors including
ovarian and colon cancer.

At this time genetic testing is investigational. If a woman is determined to
have these genetic markers, should we recommend bilateral mastectomy
and oophorectomy? Further, if her insurance company knows that she has
these genetic markers of increased risk, she may lose her insurance
coverage. If a woman decides to proceed with genetic testing, we
recommend that this test be paid for by the individual to keep the results

Late or no pregnancies: Pregnancies prior to the age of twenty-six are
somewhat protective. Nuns have a higher incidence of breast cancer.

Moderate alcohol intake: Greater than two alcoholic beverages per day.

Estrogen replacement therapy: Most studies indicate that taking estrogen
longer than ten years may lead to a slight increase in risk for developing
breast cancer. However, these studies indicate that the positive benefits of
taking estrogen as far as reducing the risk for osteoporosis, heart disease
and now more recently Alzheimer's and colon cancer, far outweigh the
slight increase in risk that may be associated with estrogen replacement

Caution should be exercised in those women with a significantly positive
family history of breast cancer or atypical intraductal hyperplasia.
Women with breast cancer are not currently give estrogen replacement.
There are no scientific studies currently justifying this practice. However,

until those studies are available, by convention, women are taken off

History of prior breast cancer: Patients with a prior history of breast
cancer are at increased risk for developing breast cancer in the other
breast. This risk is 1% per year or a lifetime risk of 10%. The reason for
close clinical follow-up after the diagnosis of breast cancer is not only to
detect recurrence of the disease, but also to detect breast cancer in the
opposite breast.

Female: The mere fact that being female increases the risk of developing
breast cancer. However, for every 100 women with breast cancer, 1 male
will develop the disease.

Therapeutic irradiation to chest wall i.e., for Hodgkins Disease (cancer of
lymph nodes): Patients who have had therapeutic irradiation to the chest
are at increased risk for developing breast cancer approximately 10 years
later and consideration should be given to earlier screening in this

Moderate obesity: The relationship of breast cancer to obesity is more
complex but associated with an increased risk.

Ductal Carcinoma in-situ: Generally divided into comedo (blackhead, the
cut surface of the tumor demonstrates extrusion of dead and necrotic
tumor cells similar to a blackhead) and non-comedo types. DCIS is early
breast cancer confined to the inside of the ductal system. The distinction
between comedo and non-comedo types is important as
comedocarcinoma in-situ generally behaves more aggressively and may
show areas of microinvasion (small areas of invasion through the ductal
wall into surrounding tissue.)

The surgical management is the same as for other types of breast cancer
except axillary node sampling is not done, as only 1% of these lesions
will have axillary metastasis. We recommend, however, that irradiation
be given if treated with conservative breast surgery to reduce the
recurrence rate from 21% without irradiation, to 5%-10% with
irradiation. This is a controversial area of the treatment of breast cancer.

Infiltrating Ductal: The most common type of breast cancer representing
78% of all malignancies. These lesions can be stellate (star like in
appearance on mammography) in appearance or well circumscribed
(rounded). The stellate lesions generally have a poorer prognosis.

Medullary Carcinoma: Comprise 15% of breast cancers. These lesions are
generally well circumscribed and may be difficult to distinguish from
fibroadenoma by mammography or sonography. Medullary carcinoma is
estrogen and progesterone receptor (prognostic indicator) negative 90%
of the time. Medullary carcinoma usually has a better prognosis than
ordinary breast cancer.

Infiltrating Lobular: Representing 15% of breast cancer these lesions
generally present in the upper outer quadrant of the breast as a subtle
thickening and are difficult to diagnose by mammography. Infiltrating
lobular can be bilateral (involve both breasts). Microscopically, these
tumors exhibit a linear array of cells (Indian filing) and grow around the
ducts and lobules (targeting.)

Tubular Carcinoma: Orderly or well differentiated carcinoma of the
breast. These lesions make up about 2% of breast cancer. They have a
favorable prognosis with nearly a 95% 10-year survival.

Mucinous Carcinoma: Represents 1%-2% of carcinoma of the breast and
has a favorable prognosis. These lesions are usually well circumscribed

Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory Breast Cancer: A particularly aggressive type of breast
cancer the presentation is usually noted in changes in the skin of the
breast including redness (erythema), thickening of the skin and
prominence of the hair follicles resembling an orange peel (peau d'
orange). The diagnosis is made by a skin biopsy, which reveals tumor in
the lymphatic and vascular channels 50% of the time.
What are the Stages of Breast Cancer
No Matter Your Stage, You Have Many Options for Treatment
There are many different varieties of breast cancer. Some are fast-
growing and unpredictable. Some are slow and steady. Some are
stimulated by the estrogen in your body; some result from a wildly out-
of-control oncogene (a cancer gene). You and your doctors will plan your
treatment based on the special characteristics of your breast cancer. To
help you understand the traits of your cancer, and your treatment options,
here's information from the National Cancer Institute.

Overview: When Cancer Is Found
The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma. It begins in
the lining of the ducts. Another type, called lobular carcinoma, arises in
the lobules. When cancer is found, the pathologist can tell what kind of

cancer it is (whether it began in a duct or a lobule) and whether it is
invasive (has invaded nearby tissues in the breast.)

Special lab tests of the tissue help the doctor learn more about the cancer.
For example, hormone receptor tests (estrogen and progesterone receptor
tests) can help determine whether hormones help the cancer to grow. If
test results show that hormones do affect the cancer's growth (a positive
test result), the cancer is likely to respond to hormonal therapy. This
therapy deprives the cancer cells of estrogen.

Other tests are sometimes done to help the doctor predict whether
the cancer is likely to progress. For example, the doctor may order x-
rays and lab tests. Sometimes a sample of breast tissue is checked for a
gene (the human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 or HER-2 gene) that
is associated with a higher risk that the breast cancer will come back. The
doctor may also order special exams of the bones, liver, or lungs because
breast cancer may spread to these areas.

A woman's treatment options depend on a number of factors. These
factors include her age and menopausal status; her general health; the size
and location of the tumor and the stage of the cancer; the results of lab
tests; and the size of her breast. Certain features of the tumor cells (such
as whether they depend on hormones to grow) are also considered.

In most cases, the most important factor is the stage of the disease. The
stage is based on the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread.
The following are brief descriptions of the stages of breast cancer and the
treatments most often used for each stage. (Other treatments may
sometimes be appropriate).

Stage 0
Stage 0 is sometimes called noninvasive carcinoma or carcinoma in situ.
Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) refers to abnormal cells in the lining of
a lobule. These abnormal cells seldom become invasive cancer. However,
their presence is a sign that a woman has an increased risk of developing
breast cancer. This risk of cancer is increased for both breasts. Some
women with LCIS may take a drug called tamoxifen, which can reduce
the risk of developing breast cancer. Others may take part in studies of
other promising new preventive treatments. Some women may choose not
to have treatment, but to return to the doctor regularly for checkups. And,
occasionally, women with LCIS may decide to have surgery to remove
both breasts to try to prevent cancer from developing. (In most cases,
removal of underarm lymph nodes is not necessary).

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) refers to abnormal cells in the lining of a
duct. DCIS is also called intraductal carcinoma. The abnormal cells have
not spread beyond the duct to invade the surrounding breast tissue.
However, women with DCIS are at an increased risk of getting invasive
breast cancer. Some women with DCIS have breast-sparing surgery
followed by radiation therapy. Or they may choose to have a mastectomy,
with or without breast reconstruction (plastic surgery) to rebuild the
breast. Underarm lymph nodes are not usually removed. Also, women
with DCIS may want to talk with their doctor about tamoxifen to reduce
the risk of developing invasive breast cancer.

Stage I and II
Stage I and stage II are early stages of breast cancer in which the cancer
has spread beyond the lobe or duct and invaded nearby tissue. Stage I
means that the tumor is no more than about an inch across and cancer
cells have not spread beyond the breast. Stage II means one of the
following: the tumor in the breast is less than 1 inch across and the cancer
has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm; or the tumor is between 1
and 2 inches (with or without spread to the lymph nodes under the arm);
or the tumor is larger than 2 inches but has not spread to the lymph nodes
under the arm.Women with early stage breast cancer may have breast-
sparing surgery followed by radiation therapy to the breast, or they may
have a mastectomy, with or without breast reconstruction to rebuild the
breast. These approaches are equally effective in treating early stage
breast cancer. (Sometimes radiation therapy is also given after

The choice of breast-sparing surgery or mastectomy depends mostly on
the size and location of the tumor, the size of the woman's breast, certain
features of the cancer, and how the woman feels about preserving her
breast. With either approach, lymph nodes under the arm usually are

Many women with stage I and most with stage II breast cancer have
chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy after primary treatment with
surgery or surgery and radiation therapy. This added treatment is called
adjuvant therapy. If the systemic therapy is given to shrink the tumor
before surgery, this is called neoadjuvant therapy. Systemic treatment is
given to try to destroy any remaining cancer cells and prevent the cancer
from recurring, or coming back, in the breast or elsewhere.

Stage III Stage III is also called locally advanced cancer. In this stage, the
tumor in the breast is large (more than 2 inches across) and the cancer has
spread to the underarm lymph nodes; or the cancer is extensive in the
underarm lymph nodes; or the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the
breastbone or to other tissues near the breast.

Inflammatory breast cancer is a type of locally advanced breast cancer. In
this type of cancer the breast looks red and swollen (or inflamed) because
cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast.

Patients with stage III breast cancer usually have both local treatment to
remove or destroy the cancer in the breast and systemic treatment to stop
the disease from spreading. The local treatment may be surgery and/or
radiation therapy to the breast and underarm. The systemic treatment may
be chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or both. Systemic therapy may be
given before local therapy to shrink the tumor or afterward to prevent the
disease from recurring in the breast or elsewhere.

Stage IV
Stage IV is metastatic cancer. The cancer has spread beyond the breast
and underarm lymph nodes to other parts of the body.

Women who have stage IV breast cancer receive chemotherapy and/or
hormonal therapy to destroy cancer cells and control the disease. They
may have surgery or radiation therapy to control the cancer in the breast.
Radiation may also be useful to control tumors in other parts of the body.

Recurrent Cancer
Recurrent cancer means the disease has come back in spite of the initial
treatment. Even when a tumor in the breast seems to have been
completely removed or destroyed, the disease sometimes returns because
undetected cancer cells remained somewhere in the body after treatment.

Most recurrences appear within the first 2 or 3 years after treatment, but
breast cancer can recur many years later.

Cancer that returns only in the area of the surgery is called a local
recurrence. If the disease returns in another part of the body, the distant
recurrence is called metastatic breast cancer. The patient may have one
type of treatment or a combination of treatments for recurrent cancer.

Source: National Cancer Institute
 Tumor size: As the size of the tumor increases the risk of axillary and
systemic metastasis increases.

Histologic Grade: the appearance of the tumor cells under the microscope
and graded from 1) well differentiated, 2) Moderately differentiated and
3) poorly differentiated. The survival diminishes with increasing
histologic grade.

Estrogen and Progesterone Receptors: Protein plugs on the surface of the
tumor cells to which estrogen and progesterone bind. This complex
moves inside the cell causing cellular division. The presence of estrogen
and progesterone receptors is a good prognostic indicator. Tumors
displaying these receptors will respond to hormonal manipulation, i.e.,

Axillary Nodes: The most important prognostic indicator. Patients with
negative axillary nodes (microscopically) have improved disease free and
long-term survival.

DNA Flow Cytometry: Test that determines the genetic material within
the cell. Tumors with a normal amount of DNA (diploid) have a better
disease free and long-term survival than those with an abnormal amount
of DNA (aneuploid). This study also determines the percentage of cells in
active division. Tumors with active cellular division of <10% have a
better prognosis.

Her-2/neu: Protein product secreted by the tumor indicating a decreased
disease free and long term survival.

Tumor Size or Characteristics:
TX = Primary tumor cannot be assessed
TIS = Carcinoma in-situ
T0 = No evidence of primary tumor
TIS = Paget's Disease without a tumor, Carcinoma in-situ
T1 = Tumor less than 2 cm. in greatest dimension
T2 = Tumor larger than 2 cm. in size but less than 5cm.
T3 = Tumor larger than 5 cm. in size
T4 = Tumor of any size extending to the chest wall or skin

Lymph Nodes:
N0 = no metastasis to axillary nodes
N1 = Metastasis to moveable axillary nodes
N2 = Metastasis to fixed or matted axillary nodes
N3 = Metastasis to supraclavicular, infraclavicular or internal mammary

M0 = no distant metastasis
M1 = distant metastasis


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