Breast cancer

Cancer - breast; Carcinoma - ductal; Carcinoma - lobular; DCIS; LCIS; HER2-positive breast cancer; ER-positive breast cancer; Ductal carcinoma in situ; Lobular carcinoma in situ

Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the tissues of the breast. There are 2 main types of breast cancer:

  • Ductal carcinoma starts in the tubes (ducts) that carry milk from the breast to the nipple. Most breast cancers are of this type.
  • Lobular carcinoma starts in the parts of the breast, called lobules, which produce milk.

In rare cases, breast cancer can start in other areas of the breast.

Female Breast

The female breast is either of two mammary glands (organs of milk secretion) on the chest.

Needle biopsy of the breast

A needle biopsy is performed under local anesthesia. Simple aspirations are performed with a small gauge needle to attempt to draw fluid from lumps that are thought to be cysts. Fine needle biopsy uses a larger needle to make multiple passes through a lump, drawing out tissue and fluid. Withdrawn fluid and tissue is further evaluated to determine if there are cancerous cells present.

Open biopsy of the breast

An open biopsy can be performed under local or general anesthesia and will leave a small scar. Prior to surgery, a radiologist often first marks the lump with a wire, making it easier for the surgeon to find.

Breast self-exam

Monthly breast self-exams should always include: visual inspection (with and without a mirror) to note any changes in contour or texture; and manual inspection in standing and reclining positions to note any unusual lumps or thicknesses.

Breast self-exam

Monthly breast self-exams should always include: visual inspection (with and without a mirror) to note any changes in contour or texture; and manual inspection in standing and reclining positions to note any unusual lumps or thicknesses.

Breast self-exam

Monthly breast self-exams should always include: visual inspection (with and without a mirror) to note any changes in contour or texture; and manual inspection in standing and reclining positions to note any unusual lumps or thicknesses.

Lumpectomy

Lumpectomy is a surgical procedure performed on a solid breast mass to determine if it is malignant. The suspicious lump and some surrounding tissue is excised and analyzed.

Breast lump removal - Series

The female breast is composed mainly of fatty tissue interspersed with fibrous or connective tissue. The circular region around the nipple is often a different color or pigmented. This region is called the areola.

Mastectomy - Series

The female breast is composed mainly of fatty tissue interspersed with fibrous or connective tissue. The circular region around the nipple is often a different color or pigmented. This region is called the areola.

Sentinel node biopsy

Sentinel node biopsy is a technique which helps determine if a cancer has spread (metastisized), or is contained locally. When a cancer has been detected, often the next step is to find the lymph node closest to the tumor site and retrieve it for analysis. The concept of the sentinel node, or the first node to drain the area of the cancer, allows a more accurate staging of the cancer, and leaves unaffected nodes behind to continue the important job of draining fluids. The procedure involves the injection of a dye (sometimes mildly radioactive) to pinpoint the lymph node which is closest to the cancer site. Sentinel node biopsy is used to stage many kinds of cancer, including lung and skin (melanoma).

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention