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You will face many hard decisions if a loved one or you have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Including several questions like where should you go for treatment? What are the available treatment options? How to maintain your quality of life? We have tried to describe these concerns, the types, and possible treatment, which will help you decide.

Female Breast Cancer

What Is Female Breast Cancer?

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In breast cancer, the cells in the breast grow out of control. When the genes in the cells of the breasts no longer work properly, the cells divide uncontrollably and form a tumor. Affected women may feel a lump under the breast skin, or some women do not realize it until the tumor shows up in a mammogram or breast X-ray. Most breast lumps are benign and do not spread to other parts of the body, and are not fatal. Tumors that are malignant, if left untreated, can invade and spread or metastasize to the axillary lymph nodes or other organs.
The risk for breast cancer increases with age, and it is diagnosed mostly (80 %) in women older than 50. Most of them do not have any other risk factors. People with a family history of breast cancer are two to three times more likely to develop breast cancer. 5 to 10 % of breast cancers are linked to hereditary gene mutations (commonly BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations). Try out MSK's Breast Cancer (Prediction Tool) nomogram!

What Are the Types of Female Breast Cancer

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  • Ductal Carcinoma - Most breast cancers are ductal carcinoma, which affects the milk ducts.
  • Lobular Carcinoma - The other types develop in the milk-producing lobules and are referred to as lobular carcinoma.
  • Breast Sarcoma - Sometimes, cancer develops in the connective tissue of the breast, known as sarcoma.
  • Paget’s Disease of the Nipple - Tumor forms in the skin covering the nipples.

What Are the Treatment Options for Female Breast Cancer?

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Biopsy from the breast lump is analyzed in a lab, and it is determined if the tumor is sensitive to the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, which can trigger breast cancer. Certain genes or proteins, such as HER2, also affect cancer cell growth. Once MSK experts have the needed information, they might suggest surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or a combination of therapies. Patients can also benefit from the thousands of clinical trials ongoing at MSK that explore new therapies.

Male Breast Cancer

What Is Male Breast Cancer?

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Even though rare, breast cancer affects men as well. The risk of a man developing breast cancer is 1 in 1,000. In the US, around 2,000 new cases of male breast cancer are diagnosed every year. It is commonly diagnosed in men between the ages of 65 and 70. As most men are not aware of the possibility of breast cancer, they often seek medical help late and at later stages of cancer, which affects the prognosis. Male and female breast cancers are similar in many features, but there are some aspects where they differ.

What Are the Types of Male Breast Cancer?

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The common types of male breast cancer include:

  • Invasive Breast Carcinoma - The subtypes are -
    • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) - starts in the breast duct and can then spread to the duct wall.
    • Invasive Lobular Carcinoma - which is less common in men and develops in the milk-producing glands.
  • Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) - Otherwise called intraductal carcinoma, DCIS generally does not spread to other parts of the body and are confined to the breast ducts.

What Are the Treatment Options for Male Breast Cancer?

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All cancer patients at MSK are offered compassionate and personalized care from their experts. Specialists experienced in surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, rehabilitation, and maintaining the quality of life will work closely to develop a customized treatment plan to ensure the best outcome possible.