Breast Cancer 101

Breast Cancer 101

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. While breast cancer related mortality rates have been in decline since 1989, most likely as a result of new treatment protocols and enhanced screening and early detection methods, the disease still accounts for the highest rate of cancer related deaths in women, after lung cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer, along with 60,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer (carcinoma in situ) are expected to be diagnosed in 2015. With a large and sometimes conflicting amount of information available, understanding the facts, causes, and risk factors surrounding breast cancer can be overwhelming for many women and their families.

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What Causes Breast Cancer?

While there are several factors that can predispose or increase a woman’s chances of developing the disease, many women diagnosed with breast cancer often do not exhibit any known risk factors. Less than 15% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a relative who has also been diagnosed, and gene mutations are estimated to account for as little as 5%-10% of new cases.

How is Breast Cancer Treated?

Like most forms of cancer, treatment for breast cancer can vary greatly depending on the type, stage, and individual health of each patient. The most common forms of treatment include various forms of medication, radiation, chemotherapy, and mastectomy.

What are the Different Types of Breast Cancer?

There are several different forms of breast cancer, depending on several factors such as where in the breast the disease originates (ducts, lobules, or connective tissue), genetic makeup of the tumors, and whether they are fueled by hormones estrogen and progesterone. Additionally, breast cancer is sub-divided into categories of invasive, non-invasive, recurrent, and metastatic.

  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer
  • Recurrent and Metastatic Breast Cancer
  • DCIS — Ductal Carcinoma In Situ
  • ILC — Invasive Lobular Carcinoma
  • IDC — Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
  • IDC Type: Tubular Carcinoma of the Breast
  • IDC Type: Medullary Carcinoma of the Breast
  • IDC Type: Mucinous Carcinoma of the Breast
  • IDC Type: Papillary Carcinoma of the Breast
  • IDC Type: Cribriform Carcinoma of the Breast
  • LCIS — Lobular Carcinoma In Situ
  • Male Breast Cancer
  • Paget’s Disease of the Nipple
  • Phyllodes Tumors of the Breast

What are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?

Although pinpointing a direct cause for the disease is improbable, certain genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors often come into play. The most common known risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Sex – While it is possible for men to develop breast cancer, the disease overwhelmingly affects women
  • Age – Risk increases with age
  • Personal history – A previous diagnosis in one breast can increase the likelihood of developing cancer in the other breast
  • First degree relative – Women with a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer are at a higher risk of developing the disease as well
  • Genetics – The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations increase the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer in women
  • Exposure to radiation and industrial chemicals
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Age of menstruation and menopause – Beginning menstruation before the age of 12 and entering menopause at an older age can increase breast cancer risks
  • Estrogen and progesterone hormone therapy
  • Childbirth – Never being pregnant or giving birth for the first time after the age of 35 can increase the risk of developing breast cancer


When Should I Get a Mammogram?

There has been some controversy in recent years on how early and how often women should begin mammography screening. Because each patient’s risk factors and situations vary, discuss your situation with Dr. Sadia to determine the screening schedule and method that is most appropriate for your situation.

Contact a Breast Cancer Specialist Today

For compassionate, professional diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Sadia Khan, a fellowship-trained breast surgeon at Hoag Breast Care Center in Newport Beach. Please call 949.390.9381 to schedule a comprehensive consultation today!