Breast Cancer Treatment at Emory

Breast Cancer Treatment


Breast cancer has recently become a major issue in today\'s society. But what exactly is breast cancer? It can best be described as a collection of cells that are growing and dividing in various parts of the breast and breast tissue. It usually starts in either the mammary ducts or the lobules. Its growth rate is very slow and it can take up to 10 years before a lump is actually detectable by a self examination. However just because you have a lump does not necessarily mean you have invasive cancer. In addition to invasive cancer, a lump could also be a type of carcinoma in situ, it is very important to understand the difference between these lump causing diseases.

Carcinoma in situ is a disease in which abnormal cell growth occurs either in the mammary ducts or the lobules, but has not spread to surrounding breast tissues. The term \"in situ\" actually means \"in place\" which is obviously reflects the stationary nature of the abnormal cells. Ductal (DCIS)and lobular(LCIS) carcinoma in situ are the two sub-categories of this disease.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the growth of abnormal cells that are isolated in hollow areas of the mammary ducts and have not spread to surrounding tissues. However these abnormal cells look very similar to the cells that compose invasive cancer. DCIS can still turn into invasive cancer if it is not detected therefore it is very important to perform frequent self examinations.

When the abnormal cell growth occurs in the open spaces of the lobules it is called lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). This is different from DCIS because it is in a different area and the cells do not have the potential to grow into invasive cancer. However, it has been proven that women who have LCIS are at higher risk of having invasive cancer.

If these abnormal cells in the mammary ducts or the lobules spread outside of that area, the disease is reclassified as invasive cancer. Invasive cancer has the ability to spread outside the origin area and affect the surrounding breast tissue, lungs, liver, and bones. Early detection is imperative to ensure a more successful treatment probability. Success rates dramatically decline as cases progress without treatment.

When a woman finds a lump it is very important to have it checked out; the odds of that lump being invasive cancer is about 20%. She will either need a mammogram or a biopsy. The mammogram will be able to provide more information about the suspicious area. A biopsy will give you and the physician definitive results as to what is causing the lump and whether it is dangerous.

In this article, Breast Cancer Symptoms and ways of identifying them are discussed. The Emory Breast Center is a reputable option for those dealing with breast cancer symptoms.


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