Breast Cancer: Types, Symptoms, and Role of Genetic Testing.
Breast Cancer is one of the most common cancer after skin cancer. It is found mostly in women than men, but males get affected too.
Rigorous awareness campaign and development in the medical science have improved the survival rate. Peole are far more aware and concious of the same hence, early detection is possible resulting in reduced number of deaths.
Learn more about Breast Cancer
- What are the types of Breast Cancer?
- Special types of invasive Breast Cancers.
- Less common types of Breast Cancer
- Early symptoms of Breast Cancer
- Role of Genetic Testing in Breast Cancer
What are the types of Breast Cancer?
The type of breast cancer is determined by the specific cells in the breast that are affected. Most breast cancers are carcinomas, which are tumors that start in the epithelial cells that line organs and tissues throughout the body. When carcinomas form in the breast, they are usually a more specific type called adenocarcinoma, which starts in cells in the ducts (the milk ducts) or the lobules (milk-producing glands). Find below the types of breast cancer:
- Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS): Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS; also known as intraductal carcinoma) is a non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. Here, the cancer starts in the milk duct and is not spread across the breast tissues.
- Invasive Breast Cancer (ILC or IDC):Invasive (or infiltrating) breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue. The most common types are invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. Invasive ductal carcinoma makes up about 70-80% of all breast cancers.
Special types of invasive breast cancers:
Some invasive breast cancers have special features or develop in different ways that affect their treatment and outlook. These cancers are less common but can be more serious than other types of breast cancer.
- Triple-negative breast cancer:Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive type of invasive breast cancer that accounts for about 15% of all breast cancers. It is a difficult cancer to treat.
- Inflammatory breast cancer: Inflammatory breast cancer is an uncommon type of invasive breast cancer. It accounts for about 1% to 5% of all breast cancers
Less common types of breast cancer:
There are other types of breast cancers that affect other types of cells in the breast. These cancers are much less common, and sometimes need different types of treatment
- Paget disease of the breast: Paget disease of the breast starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple and then to the areola (the dark circle around the nipple). It is rare, accounting for only about 1-3% of all cases of breast cancer.
- Angiosarcoma: Sarcomas of the breast are rare making up less than 1% of all breast cancers. Angiosarcoma starts in cells that line blood vessels or lymph vessels. It can involve the breast tissue or the skin of the breast. Some may be related to prior radiation therapy in that area.
- Phyllodes tumor: Phyllodes tumors are rare breast tumors. They develop in the connective tissue (stroma) of the breast, in contrast to carcinomas, which develop in the ducts or lobules. Most are benign, but there are others that are malignant (cancer).
Early symptoms of Breast Cancer:
- A lump in your breast or underarm that doesn’t go away. This is often the first symptom of breast cancer. Your doctor can usually see a lump on a mammogram long before you can see or feel it.
- Swelling in your armpit or near your collarbone. This could mean breast cancer has spread to lymph nodes in that area. Swelling may start before you feel a lump, so let your doctor know if you notice it.
- Pain and tenderness, although lumps don’t usually hurt. Some may cause a prickly feeling.
- A flat or indented area on your breast. This could happen because of a tumor that you can’t see or feel.
- Breast changes such as a difference in the size, contour, texture, or temperature of your breast.
- Changes in your nipple, like pulls inward, is dimpled, burns, itches, develops sores
- Unusual nipple discharge. It could be clear, bloody, or another colour.
- A marble-like area under your skin that feels different from any other part of either breast.
Role of Genetic Testing in Breast Cancer:
What if we say you could find out if you are prone to this deadly illness? What if we say Genetic Testing could be the answer?
Genetic Testing involves probing into your chemical database, your DNA. This test can reveal plenty about you, your past, your health, happiness, IQ. In fact. To some extent, it can determine your future too!
Needless to say, your genes are not the only ones responsible for everything, other aspects like environment, lifestyle are responsible as well!
Knowing details about your health from Genetic Testing means that you can determine the risks of you being susceptible to various diseases and ailments. Therefore, we can also predetermine the risks of you getting affected by the killer – Breast Cancer.
But we should always keep in mind that a positive testing result does not signify that you will definitely be affected, neither does a negative result mean that you will never be affected. It is just a way to be cautious and take preventive measures accordingly.
How does Genetic Testing work?
Some females inherit certain gene changes (or mutations) that intensify the risk of being affected by Breast Cancer (or any other cancer).
In the case of Breast Cancer, the most significant changes inherited mutations occur in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Individuals having either of these gene changes are prone to have Breast Cancer (or Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer – HBOC).
Females with the abovesaid gene change are likely to have Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer. While the males are exposed to the risks of getting breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.
Factors affecting the risk in terms of Genetic Testing:
If your family holds a history of breast or any other cancer, the chances of you being affected by the illness multiples. But the risk depends on certain factors like:
- Closeness with the family member suffering/suffered from cancer
- The number of family members who were affected
- The age, when they were diagnosed with cancer. If he/she was detected at a younger age, then it is a matter of grave concern
Results of Genetic Testing:
Before opening your results, you should always keep in mind that Genetic Testing is for sure one of the biggest tools to prevent and take precautions against Breast Cancer but it might not provide clear answers. Hence, heading to a genetic counsellor once the results have arrived is very important.
When the result is positive, there could be ways to reduce the risk or even prevent it. If you are already detected with this cancer, your course of treatment might change, for better of course!
When the result is negative, you should be happy but that does not eliminate the chances of you being affected later, as we said earlier, your environment, lifestyle plays an important role too.
When the result is inconclusive, you should probably get another test done or talk to your genetic counsellor.
When the result is positive for a variant unknown significance, it signifies that the test did find a gene change but is not sure if that may affect the risk. In this case, you should consult your genetic counsellor for the next step.
In short, we can say, Genetic Testing in case of Breast Cancer is certainly a good choice to assess the risk factors.
truGeny – India’s first telegenetic platform:
truGeny is India’s first telegenetic platform providing an end-to-end solution for Genetic Counselling and Testing services. Our expert and certified genetic counsellors will help you in understanding your risks based on your health and family history. Once the test is conducted, our counsellors will explain the test results to you and guide you on the next steps. Choose a healthy future by being aware of your genes and your risk Learn with truGeny. Book your appointment. Visit us at www.trugeny.com.