Breast cancer can best be described as a type of cancer where cells abnormally divide and grow in the breast tissue. The site where breast cancer originated can typically be found either in the mammary ducts or the lobules. Cancerous tumors usually grow very slowly; by the time a lump is detectable by self examination; it can already be as much as 10 years old. However, it is important to understand the difference between invasive breast cancer and carcinoma in situ. The following is an overview of the various types of carcinoma in situ as well as invasive breast cancer.
Carcinoma in situ is an abnormal cell growth/development inside either the milk ducts or the lobules without spreading to surrounding tissue, hence the term “in situ” which means “in place”. As long as the abnormal cells remain in the milk ducts or lobules the condition is classified as carcinoma in situ. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) are the two primary sub-categories that we will examine.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) occurs in the mammary ducts where abnormal cell growth is found. The excess cells in the mammary ducts are very similar to invasive cancer cells and have the potential to develop into invasive cancer eventually. It is due to this fact that early detection is so vital. Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) occurs when there is abnormal cell growth in the open space of the lobules. LCIS differs from DCIS because of the type of cells that are growing ? they do not have the potential to develop into cancer. However, women with LCIS have a significantly higher risk for developing invasive cancer.
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.
The Emory Breast Center has the best breast treatments and programs are available. They are experts at detecting the earliest signs of breast cancer and deliver world-class care and treatments. They understand breast cancer and the stresses and anxieties the come with it. Every 3 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer ? but the Emory Breast Center is working hard to diagnose and treat breast cancer before it can become life threatening.
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