Breast Cancer Symptoms, Stages, Types and More

A Comprehensive Guide to Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is cancer that occurs in breast cells. Typically, cancer forms in the lobules or nasal passages. The lobules are the glands that produce milk, and the ducts are the passages that carry milk from the glands to the nipples.
Treatment: hormonal therapy; Mastectomy

Breast cancer symptoms

In the early stages, breast cancer may not cause symptoms. In many cases, the tumor may be too small to feel, but abnormalities can still be seen on mammography. If the tumor can be felt, the first sign is usually a new mass of breast that did not exist before. But not all packages are cancerous.

Each type of breast cancer can cause a variety of symptoms. Many of these symptoms are similar, but some may be different. The most common symptoms of breast cancer are

  • A lump or thickening of the recently developed breast that feels different from the surrounding tissue
  • Breast pain
  • Red and itchy skin all over the breast
  • Swelling of all or part of the breast
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Bloody discharge from her nipples
  • Peeling, peeling or peeling of the skin of the nipples or breast
  • Sudden, unexplained changes in the shape or size of the breast
  • Inverted nipple
  • Changes in the shape of the breast skin.
  • Lumps or swelling under the arm

These symptoms do not necessarily mean breast cancer.
For example, breast pain or lumps of breast can be caused by benign cysts.
If you still have lumps in the breast or other symptoms, you need to have additional tests and tests by your doctor. Learn more about the possible breast cancer symptoms.

Types of breast cancer

There are several types of breast cancer, and they are divided into two main categories: "invasive" and "non-invasive" or on-site. Invasive cancers have spread from breast ducts or glands to other areas of the breast, but non-invasive cancers have not spread from their original tissues.

These two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer:

Carcinoma in the system. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive condition. With DCIS, cancer cells are limited to the breast ducts and do not invade the surrounding breast tissue.
Lobules carcinoma. Lobular carcinoma in situ (CLIS) is a cancer that grows in the glands of the breast. Like DCIS, cancer cells did not invade surrounding tissues.
Invasive Conduit Carcinoma. Invasive catheter carcinoma (IDC) is the most common type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer starts in the milk ducts and invades nearby breast tissue. If breast cancer spreads to tissue outside the ducts, it can begin to spread to other organs and tissues.
Invasive lobular carcinoma. Invasive lobular cancer (ILC) first developed in the breast lobules and invaded nearby tissues.

Other less common types of breast cancer are:

Wave jet bottle of pacifier. This type of breast cancer begins in the teat canal, but as it grows it begins to affect the skin and areolas of the teat.
Filodes tumor. This very rare type of breast cancer grows in connective tissue of the breast. Most of these tumors are benign, but some are cancerous.
Angiosarcoma This is a cancer that grows in the blood vessels or lymphatic vessels of the breast.

The type of cancer you have determines your treatment options and long-term consequences. Learn more about the types of breast cancer.

Inflammatory breast cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare but aggressive type of breast cancer. IBC accounts for only 1-5% of reliable sources of all breast cancer cases.

In this state, the cells block the lymph nodes near the breast, so the lymphatic vessels of the breast do not drain properly. IBC makes the breast swell, look red, and feel very hot instead of making a tumor. Cancerous breasts can be boneless and thick, like orange peels.

IBC is very aggressive and can go fast. For this reason, it is important to call a doctor immediately if symptoms appear. Learn more about the IBC and its causes.

Triple-negative breast cancer

Triple negative breast cancer is another rare type of disease, affecting only 10-20% of breast cancer patients. To be diagnosed as triple negative breast cancer, the tumor must have three characteristics:

Lack of estrogen receptors. These are receptors on cells that bind or bind to the hormone estrogen. If the tumor has estrogen receptors, estrogen can stimulate the growth of cancer.
Lack of progesterone receptors. This receptor is a cell that binds to the hormone progesterone. If the tumor has progesterone receptors, progesterone can stimulate cancer growth.
There is no additional HER2 protein on the surface. HER2 is a protein that stimulates the growth of breast cancer.

If the tumor meets these three criteria, it is marked as triple negative breast cancer. This type of breast cancer tends to grow and spread faster than other types of breast cancer.

Triple negative breast cancer is difficult to treat because hormonal therapy for breast cancer is not effective. Learn about treatment and survival rate for triple negative breast cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer

Metastatic breast cancer is another name for stage 4 breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread from the breast to other parts of the body such as bones, lungs, or liver.

This is the stage of breast cancer progression. An oncologist (cancer) will develop a treatment plan to prevent the growth or spread of the tumor or tumor. Know the treatment options and prognostic factors of metastatic cancer.

Male breast cancer

They are generally less, but men have breast tissue like women. Men may have breast cancer, but they are much rarer. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is 100 and 70 times less common in white men than in white women.
4 stage breast cancer
Stage 4 breast cancer can have tumors of any size, whose cancer cells have spread to nearby and distant lymph nodes, as well as to distant organs.

The tests performed by the doctor determine the stage of breast cancer, which affects the treatment. Learn how different stages of breast cancer are treated.

Breast cancer stages

Breast cancer can be divided into several stages, depending on the size of the tumor and the size of the tumor. Cancers that have large or invaded nearby tissues or organs are at a higher stage than those that are small or still contained in the breast. To develop breast cancer, a doctor needs to know.

  • If cancer is invasive or non-invasive
  • How big is the tumor
  • When lymph nodes are involved
  • The cancer has spread to nearby tissues or organs.

Breast cancer has five main stages: stages 0-5.

Stage 0 breast cancer

Phase 0 is DCIS. Cancer cells in DCIS are localized in the sinus ducts and did not spread to nearby tissues.

Stage 1 breast cancer

    Stage 1A: The width of the primary tumor is no more than 2 centimeters, the lymph nodes are not affected.
    Stage 1B: The cancer is in the nearby lymph nodes and there is no tumor in the breast or the tumor is less than 2 cm.

    Stage 2 breast cancer

      Stage 2A: The tumor is less than 2 cm and has spread to 1 to 3 nearby lymph nodes or has not spread to lymph nodes 2 to 5 cm.
      Stage 2B: The tumor is between 2-5 cm and spreads to 1 or 3 axillary lymph nodes or larger than 5 cm and does not spread to lymph nodes.

      Stage 3 breast cancer

        Step 3A:
        The cancer has spread to 4-9 axillary lymph nodes or enlarged internal breast lymph nodes, and primary tumors can be of any size.
        The tumor is larger than 5 cm and the cancer has spread to 1-3 fluids and lymph nodes or sternal ganglia.
        Stage 3B: The tumor may have invaded the chest wall or skin and may or may not have involved up to nine lymph nodes.
        Stage 3C: Cancer is found in more than 10 axillary lymph nodes, lymph nodes near the clavicle or internal mammary gland.

        Stage 4 breast cancer

        Stage 4 breast cancer can have tumors of any size, whose cancer cells have spread to nearby and distant lymph nodes, as well as to distant organs.

        Examination performed by the doctor determines the stage of breast cancer, which affects

        Breast cancer pictures

        Breast cancer diagnosis
        To determine if your symptoms are caused by breast cancer or benign breast disease, your doctor will perform a complete physical exam in addition to your breast exam. You can also ask for one or more diagnostic tests to help you understand the cause of your symptoms.

        Tests that can help diagnose breast cancer include:

        Mammography The most common way of looking under the surface of the breast is an imaging test called mammography. Many women over 40 take mammograms every year to detect breast cancer. If your doctor suspects you have a tumor or suspicious spots, he or she will ask for a mammogram. If you notice an abnormal area on the mammogram, your doctor may ask for further tests.

        Ultrasound Breast ultrasound uses sound waves to create deep tissue images of the breast. Ultrasound may help doctors distinguish between solid masses, such as tumors, and benign cysts.
        Your doctor may also suggest tests such as MRI or breast biopsy. Learn about other tests you can use to detect breast cancer.

        Breast biopsy

        Your doctor may order a mammogram and ultrasound if you suspect breast cancer. If both tests do not know if the doctor has cancer, the doctor can do a test called a breast biopsy.

        During this test, the doctor removes a tissue sample from the suspected area and analyzes it. There are several types of breast biopsies. In some of these tests, doctors use a needle to take a tissue sample. An incision is made in the breast with others and the sample is removed.

        The doctor sends a tissue sample to the laboratory. If the sample is positive for cancer, the laboratory can analyze it and tell the doctor what kind of cancer you have. Learn more about breast biopsies, how to prepare and what to expect.

        Breast cancer treatment

        The stage of breast cancer, how far it has invaded (if any) and how large the tumor has grown all play an important role in determining what type of treatment is needed.

        First of all, the doctor determines the size, stage and grade of the cancer (the likelihood that the cancer will grow and spread). After that, you can discuss the treatment options. The most common treatment for breast cancer is surgery. Many women receive additional treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation or hormone therapy.


        Several types of surgery can be used to remove breast cancer.

        Lumpectomy.This procedure removes part of the tumor and surrounding tissue, leaving the rest of the breast intact.
        Mastectomy. In this procedure, the surgeon removes a complete breast. In double mastectomy, both breasts are removed.
        Sentinel node biopsy. This surgery removes some lymph nodes that receive tumor drainage. This lymph node is evaluated. Without cancer, you may not need additional surgery to remove more lymph nodes.
        Axillary lymph node dissection. If the lymph nodes removed during the sentinel node biopsy contain cancer cells, your doctor may remove additional lymph nodes.
        Opposite preventive mastectomy. Breast cancer can only exist in one breast, but some women choose to undergo contralateral mastectomy. This surgery removes a healthy breast and reduces the risk of developing breast cancer.

        Radiation therapy

        In radiation therapy, high-power radiation beams are used to attack and kill cancer cells. Most radiation treatments use external beam radiation. This technique uses large machines outside the body.

        Advances in cancer treatment have allowed doctors to shed cancer inside the body. This type of radiation therapy is called brachytherapy. To perform brachytherapy, the surgeon places the radiation site or granules inside the body near the tumor site. The seeds remain there for a short time and try to destroy cancer cells.


        Chemotherapy is a medication used to destroy cancer cells. Some people only receive chemotherapy, But this type of treatment is often used in combination with other treatments, especially surgery.

        In some cases, doctors prefer to give chemotherapy to patients before surgery. The hope is that the treatment reduces the size of the tumor and the surgery does not have to be so invasive. Chemotherapy has many unwanted side effects, so consult your doctor before starting treatment.

        Hormone therapy

        If your breast cancer type is hormone sensitive, your doctor can start hormone therapy. Two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, can stimulate the growth of breast cancer tumors. Hormone therapy works by blocking the production of these hormones in the body or by blocking hormone receptors in cancer cells. This action can slow or stop the growth of cancer.

        Medications OR Drug

        Certain therapies are designed to attack abnormalities or certain mutations within cancer cells. For example, Herceptin (Trastuzumab) can block the production of HER2 protein in the body. HER2 helps the growth of breast cancer cells, so taking drugs to reduce the production of this protein can slow cancer growth.

        Nipple discharge

        A milky nipple discharge is common when you are breastfeeding, but you should not ignore this symptom if you are not breastfeeding. Unusual discharge from your nipples can be a symptom of breast cancer. This includes a clear discharge and a blood discharge.

        If you notice a discharge and you are not breastfeeding, make an appointment with your doctor. They can take an exam and find out the cause.

        Changes in the size and shape of the breast

        It is not uncommon for your breasts to swell, and you may notice a change in size around the time of your menstrual cycle.

        Swelling can also cause breast tenderness, and it may be a bit uncomfortable to wear a bra or lie on your stomach. This is perfectly normal and rarely indicates breast cancer.

        But while your breasts may undergo certain changes at different times of the month, you should not overlook some changes. If you notice that your breasts swell at times other than your menstrual cycle, or if only one breast is swollen, talk to your doctor.

        In cases of normal swelling, both breasts remain symmetrical. That means that one will not suddenly be bigger or more swollen than the other.

        Inverted nipple

        Changes in the appearance of the nipple can occur over time and can be considered normal. But talk to your doctor if you notice a newly inverted nipple. This is easy to identify. Instead of pointing outward, the nipple is inserted into the breast.

        An inverted nipple in itself does not mean that you have breast cancer. Some women usually have a flat nipple that looks inverted, and others develop an inverted nipple over time. Still, your doctor should investigate and rule out cancer.

        Peeling, scaling, or flaking skin

        Do not be alarmed immediately if you notice peeling, peeling or peeling in your breasts or the skin around your nipples. This is a symptom of breast cancer, but it can also be a symptom of atopic dermatitis, eczema or another skin condition.

        After an exam, your doctor may perform tests to rule out Paget's disease, which is a type of breast cancer that affects the nipples. It can also cause these symptoms.

        Skin rash on the breasts

        You may not associate breast cancer with redness or a rash, but in the case of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rash is an early symptom. This is an aggressive form of breast cancer that affects the skin and lymphatic vessels of the breast.

        Unlike other types of breast cancer, IBC generally does not cause lumps. However, your breasts may swell, warm up and appear red. The rash may resemble groups of insect bites, and it is not unusual to have itching.

        Pitting breast skin

        A rash is not the only visual symptom of inflammatory breast cancer. This type of cancer also changes the appearance of breasts. You may notice dimples or stings, and the skin of your breast may begin to look like an orange peel due to the underlying inflammation.


        It is important that all women learn to identify the visible symptoms of breast cancer.Cancer can be aggressive and life-threatening, but survival is high through early diagnosis and treatment.

        According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer if diagnosed as stage 1 to stage 3 is between 100 and 72 percent. But once the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, the five-year survival rate drops to 22 percent.

        You can improve your chances of early detection and treatment by:

        • Develop a breast self-exam routine
        • Consult your doctor if you notice any change in your breasts
        • Get regular mammograms

        Mammography recommendations vary by age and risk, so be sure to talk with your doctor about when to start and how often to have a mammogram.

        If you receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, know that you are not alone. Seek support from other people living with breast cancer. Download the free Healthline application here.

        Medically reviewed by Christina Chun, MPH on November 2, 2018 - Written by Valencia Higuera
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