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The word breast cancer itself brings in a sort of fear psychosis among the women community nowadays as it is a disease most widely known the world over. In simple terms breast cancer can be defined as a type of cancer that afflicts the breast and normally starts from the inner lining of the breast lobules or milk ducts.

It is a type of malignant tumor that begins in the cells of the breast. Breast cancer normally forms in the tissues of the breast causing the cells present in breast region to grow in a highly uncontrolled manner.

Breast cancer is known to be the most commonly occurring cancer type and is ranked second after lung cancer in causing most deaths globally. Breast Cancer is a common occurrence among women rather than men and therefore it is considered to be a female centric disease. However, in some cases men are also prone to breast cancer.

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Statistics on breast cancer

In the United States of America, according to The American Cancer Society over 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are being diagnosed every year. An invasive breast cancer means that the cancer has spread to the other areas of the breast tissue.

One out of eight women in the United States has this disease. Physicians estimate that over 40,000 women will die of breast cancer every year globally if these patients are left untreated.

Common types of breast cancer

In a broad way there are two types of breast cancer that can be found in women and these types of breast cancer has been named after the parts of the breast in which they start and these are:

  1. The Lobular Carcinoma Breast Cancer - This is a type of breast cancer that starts in the glands or lobes that are responsible for producing milk in the breast. These lobes are located deep inside the breast and under the ducts. It is estimated that about 8% of breast cancer are of this type.

    In case, the breast cancer is LCIS or lobular carcinoma in situ then it can be concluded that the cancer is limited within the lobe and has not yet spread. If this type of cancer has been diagnosed immediately then, it may be removed by undergoing lumpectomy (excision of partial breast tissue) by the concerned patient and the physician normally recommends a follow up treatment that may include radiation.

  2. Ductal Carcinoma Breast Cancer - This type of cancer begins in the cells that line the breast's ducts which lay beneath the areola and nipple. These ducts supply the milk to the nipple during the lactation period of the women. About 90% of the breast cancer occurring in women is of ductal carcinoma.

    In case the cancer is of ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS then such condition is termed as non-invasive and can be successfully treated by the physician or a surgeon. In case the ductal cancer has spread to or into the nearby breast tissue and is popularly known as invasive cancer then the concerned patient may be required to undergo mastectomy(excision of breast). The physician may also recommend chemotherapy.

There are also some other types of breast cancer that is uncommon and these are:
  1. The Inflammatory breast cancer
  2. Triple negative breast cancer
  3. Paget's disease of the nipple
  4. Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  5. Tubular carcinoma
  6. Papillary carcinoma
  7. Phyllodes tumor
  8. Angiosarcoma

Causes of breast cancer

The medical fraternity is still unknown of what exactly causes the occurrence of breast cancer but they are able to found some of the possible factors that are known to cause breast cancer and these are-

  1. Family history of the concerned patient having the breast cancer is known to be one of the factors of getting breast cancer. In such a case, family history means those cases in which there have been occurrences of breast cancer in the paternal and maternal relatives of the patient.

    The risk increases even more if the affected one is a close relative who had developed breast cancer at an early age and had cancer of both the breasts. It is also observed that breast cancer in a male increases the risk for all his close female relatives.

  2. Hereditary factors leading to mutation of certain genes passed on to the generations is also known to cause breast cancer in about five to ten percent of the breast cancer cases. The abnormal genes such as BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 when inherited increase the risk of getting breast cancer in those women having these abnormal genes.

  3. Advancing age.
  4. Women and men employed in chemical factories.
  5. Early menopause and an early onset of menstrual cycle in women.
  6. Child bearing at a late age.
  7. Undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy.
  8. Overexposure to radiation or radioactive rays.

Thus, the above mentioned factors are responsible for causing breast cancer mostly in women.