Types, Stages & Treatments of Breast Cancer:
There are many types of breast cancer, in which there 3 most common types known as; ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma and, invasive lobular carcinoma. Most of the breast cancers are carcinoma; which is a tumor that takes place in the epithelial cells that line all the organs and tissues throughout our body. The carcinoma tumor is also further determined to its type called adenocarcinoma; which rises in the glandular tissue.
But the Types of Breast Cancer are not justified to just the carcinoma tumor. As it is determined through the cells that are affected by a tumor in the breast. Hence, the type of breast cancer can vary from the common to the rare ones.
Although carcinomas are the Most Common Types of Breast Cancer. They are names according to which place they have formed and how much this tumor has spread. Let’s discuss the type, which includes the ones that have spread or invaded and the ones that haven’t spread.
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ:
The DCIS is a non-invading or non-spreading breast cancer. In this cancer, the abnormal cells are lined in the breast milk duct. And these cells are not spread outside of the duct in any other breast tissue. Although this type of breast cancer is the very first stage of cancer and can be treated and cured. If by any means it is left untreated then the cancer cells can spread around in other breast tissues.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma:
The IDC or Invasive Ductal Carcinoma is the type of breast cancer. In which the abnormal cells start forming in the milk duct and further spreads in all the other parts of the breast. The cancer cells in this type of cancer can also spread in any other part of the body. The IDC is a very common type of breast cancer, being diagnosed in about 70-80% of people having breast cancer.
Although breast cancer is a disease most affected and diagnosed in females. But this type of breast cancer is most common in affecting men more than women. Moreover, the IDC or Invasive Ductal Carcinoma is also often called as infiltrative ductal carcinoma.
Metastatic Breast Cancer:
The Metastatic Breast cancer is a more spread breast cancer, considered or classified as a Stage 4 breast cancer. In this type of breast cancer, breast cancer is diagnosed as Stage 4 cancer. The cancer is already spread in other parts of the body. The affected parts of the body due to this type of breast cancer can include the liver, lungs, brain and/or bones of the body.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer:
The IBC or Inflammatory Breast Cancer is the kind of breast cancer that spreads really fast and aggressively. In this type of breast cancer, the cancer cells enter the skin and lymph vessels of the breast. Although when we talk about breast cancers, it is commonly diagnosed at first through the lumps in the breast that can be felt.
But in IBC the cancer cells don’t really produce any lumps or distinct tumor that can be felt in the breast. But the symptoms start appearing in this type of cancer. Once after the cancer cells have already blocked the lymph vessels…
These are the most basic and most commonly diagnosed breast cancer types; there are also a few more types of breast cancer which are either not very invasive or hard to treat
Stages of Breast Cancer:
The stages of breast cancer can be diagnosed through the size of cancer in the breast. Or how much it has spread in the breast or in the other body parts. Like any other cancer, breast cancer also has 0 to IV stages. Which determines the state of the cancer cells in the breast from least to most.
The higher the stage of cancer is increased in the best, the more hard and untreatable cancer becomes. Although breast cancer is curable with proper medication and treatment, that is only possible with early diagnosis and treatment. If the stage of breast cancer increases without being treated, then the chances of curing it reduce more and more. Let’s further discuss the stages of cancer.
Stage 0 cancer is non-invasive breast cancer which can be called a DCIS; ductal carcinoma in situ breast cancer. During this earliest stage of cancer, there aren’t any signs of cancer cells spread outside the breast. Instead, these cells stay at the same place in the breast where they started and don’t invade any other tissues.
This stage of cancer is termed as invasive breast cancer. Where the cancer cells invade through the normal tissues surrounded in the breast and start spreading in the other tissues.
This stage of cancer is further divided into two subcategories known as stage IA and stage IB. During this stage of cancer, the microscopic invasion takes paces where the cancer cells hardly invade anywhere outside the lining of the duct of about more than 1mm distance.
Like a stage, I cancer, this stage II cancer is also divided into two subcategories known as IIA stage and IIB stage. In stage IIA of breast cancer, the tumor is spread in some 2cm measurement or smaller than that. But that’s not the only case of the IIA stage of cancer as there are more symptoms. And types of internal spreading of cancer in the IIA stage of cancer.
Other than the IIA stage cancer, the IIB stage is described also has some relevant diagnosis and occurrence. In this stage of cancer, the tumor is larger than 2cm but not larger than 5cm and is spread in tiny groups of cells of breast cancer. These cells are spread in the lymph nodes of the breast.
This stage of cancer is further divided into three different subcategories; the IIIA, IIIB and IIIC stages. The stage III breast cancer means that cancer has spread more than the nearby region of the affected part with the tumor. As the tumor has spread a lot more than the nearby regions. It can also invade and affect the nearby lymph nodes and muscles inside/around the breast.
Although, during this stage cancer cells are spread in the nearby muscles but not in the distant organs of the body. And as it is obvious that on-time diagnosis and proper treatment can cure cancer. But the higher stages of cancer can be hard to cure. But the advanced treatments that available and introduced nowadays. The treatment of stage III cancer can be possible and assured too.
This stage of cancer determines the invasion of cancer cells from the lymph nodes to the nearby organs of the body. The parts of the body that get affected in this stage of cancer include lugs, skin, liver, bones, brain or even the distant lymph nodes.
Stage IV breast cancer can also be termed or named as a ‘metastatic’ or ‘advanced’ breast cancer. Cancer can also directly be stage IV breast cancer at an early diagnosis. This is called ‘de novo’, and can be the reoccurrence of cancer cells from a previous diagnosis of cancer that has spread in other organs of the body.
This stage of cancer is the last stage of cancer and is hard to cure, but proper treatment and medication can help in curing it with time. Knowing the proper symptoms and causes of this cancer can help in self-diagnosis and early treatment of this stage of cancer, helping in more assured treatment.
Chemo Treatments for Breast Cancer:
The chemotherapy treatments of breast cancer are a treatment source of breast cancer that refers to the use of some cytotoxic drugs. These drugs are used in the chemotherapies that are a necessary treatment for any kind of cancer.
Chemotherapy is a treatment for all types of cancer that simply uses some specific drugs that are known as anti-cancer drugs. These anti-cancer cells are used to kill all the cancer cells through a chemotherapy session. Now that we’re discussing chemo-therapies, let’s discuss the side effects that are caused during or after this treatment of cancer.
Side Effects that are Caused During or After this Treatment of Cancer
1. Effect On The Healthy Blood Cells
- The effect on the healthy blood cells and its amount is something that is affected through chemotherapies. As we know that the blood cells lie white or red blood cells or blood platelets are released through the bone marrow. But after a chemotherapy session, the bone is likely to be affected as it reduces its ability to make these cells.
2. Hair Loss
- We all know that once the chemo sessions start for a cancer patient, the hair loss is something that starts with it. For some patients, the process of losing their hair can be the most stressful and hard to cope with. But the amount of hair loss is something that simply depends on how many chemo sessions a patient takes or how much drugs are used in it.
3. Hand-foot Syndrome
- Another common side effect of chemotherapies is the hand-foot syndrome, during which the palms of the hands and soles of the feet get affected. The hand-foot syndromes affect the sole and palm, making it sensitive and affected.
4. Nausea, Sickness or Vomiting
- During the radiotherapy sessions or treatment of cancer, the occurrence of nausea, sickness or vomiting is pretty common and obvious. Although how much this symptom affects or arises in the patients, depends completely on how much chemotherapy drugs are given to a patient. And to avoid these situations, some anti-sickness pills are provided to the patient after the chemo sessions to take home.
5. Digestive System Problems
- Digestive system problems are also usually caused after chemo sessions. Sometimes patients either face constipation or diarrhea or even heartburn after the chemo-sessions.
6. Mouth and Dental Problems
- Mouth and dental problems like sore mouth and ulcers, dry mouth or tooth decay, bleeding gums, infections or an oral thrush are some common mouth conditions that are likely to arise in cancer patients.
7. Memory and Ability of Proper Concentration
- Sometimes, chemo treatments also affect the memory and ability of proper concentration in some patients, as a side effect of chemotherapies.
Radiotherapy Sessions for Breast Cancer:
Radiotherapy is the advanced treatment of cancer that helps in killing the cancer cells no matter where they are spread. The higher amount of cancer cells that are spread in the body requires radiotherapy sessions to treat and kill them. When talking about radiotherapy for breast cancer, this can sometimes damage some arm nerves which is called brachial plexopathy.
This damage in the arm nerves causes pain, numbness, and weakness in that shoulder, hand or entire arm. But that’s not all to the pain, as if the radiation is provided to the underarm lymph node of the breast than It can also cause lymphedema. This lymphedema is a special pain or swelling that arises in the arm or chest.
The common radiotherapy treatment course includes a daily single radiation session for some five days a week. This radiotherapy session goes on for about five to six weeks. The more the sessions are spread the more the chances of recovering your healthy cells increase while the cancer cells die.
Some short-term side effects that occur after the radio sessions are;
- Changes in breast and body skin.
- Heart problems.
- Lung problems.
- Symptoms of a Rib Fracture.
- The occurrence of lymphedema pain or swelling in the arm or chest.
- Pain and skin changing in the breast, making it sore.
- Fatigue and other weakness symptoms.
Now if we talk about hair loss, then it is justified that if you are only going through a radiation treatment during the treatment of breast cancer, then the hairs of the head aren’t lost instead of just the hairs on the breast and around the nipples come off.
The chemotherapy sessions of cancer treatment are what cause the hair of the head and the entire body to come off slowly; so the radiation treatment doesn’t cause hair loss from the head.