Breast cancer is a malignant proliferation of epithelial cells that line the mammary ducts; that is, it is a clonal disease where a breast cell can divide without control or order, causing it to reproduce until it forms a tumour. .
Types of breast cancer
The most common breast cancer
The most common breast cancer is invasive or filtering ductal cancer (IDC), with 80% of cases. It is so named because it spreads into the surrounding breast tissues and can spread to the lymph nodes and other body areas.
Other types of breast cancer
But there are also other types of breast cancer: lobular carcinoma in situ (CLUS), Paget’s breast disease, phyllodes tumour or phyllodes osteosarcoma and inflammatory breast carcinoma. It is the latter that we will discuss on the occasion of the World Day for the Fight Against Breast Cancer -October 19-.
Types of breast cancer SPECIALIZED DIAGNOSTIC STUDIES (EED)
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer
Even though breast cancer is one of the most frequent among women when we talk about inflammatory cancer, we are faced with a unique typology found between 2 and 6% of all cases, with clearly differentiated symptoms.
These symptoms, which are manifested due to the blockage that tumour cells make to the lymphatic vessels in the skin, occur in:
Ten signs to detect breast cancer
- Changes in temperature and appearance of the breast
- Redness of the skin, including the formation of bruises or spots
- Development of marks on the skin (can be confused with orange peel)
- Alteration in the shape of the nipple (it can be sunken or flattened)
- Swollen lymph nodes under the armpit (they may also become enlarged and hard)
However, according to the Women’s Unit, these signs, similar to mastitis -infection of the breast-can be confused.
What is mastitis
Mastitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the breast that is usually caused by an infection of one of the breasts. It most often develops in women and even in mammals due to lactation, when a milk duct becomes blocked and does not drain well, but it is also due to a cut or opening in the skin that can lead to infection.
Breast cancer affects more and more young women.
This infection causes the body’s white blood cells to release substances to fight the disease, causing the breast to swell, inflamed and red, change in temperature and, consequently, pain, discomfort, or increased blood flow. In addition, it can cause fever or headache or flu-like symptoms, with general malaise.
Its treatment generally consists of prescribing antibiotics and emptying breast milk, as the American Cancer Society indicates. In some cases, it can trigger an abscess in the breast (accumulation of pus). Only in this case would a surgical intervention be necessary to drain said pus.
If the symptoms do not entirely disappear after taking antibiotics for one week or ten days, the symptoms do not wholly disappear, and it is recommended to see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out inflammatory cancer. After the physical examination, a mammogram is performed to check the thickening of the skin or the nodes and to serve as a guide for the biopsy, in charge of confirming the existence of cancer cells. However, the specialists may require more ultrasounds and biopsies to ensure the diagnosis and adjust treatment as much as possible.
The Women’s Unit of Hospital Ruber Internacional also comments that the biggest problem with this pathology is that it tends to spread very quickly, and the lump it develops is not easy to detect either with a breast pulse or with a mammogram. Hence, the diagnosis and treatment are more complex. On the contrary, if mastitis is seen quickly thanks to the knowledge of the symptoms described above – which do not have to coincide – and you go to the specialist as soon as possible, it will be much easier to stop its spread.
Treatment of inflammatory breast cancer
In the case of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), rare invasive breast cancer that usually causes changes in the skin, it will be considered stage III. When it spreads to other body parts, it is regarded as a stage IV cancer – outside the breast and armpit, invading neighbouring or distant organs – when there is metastasis. Although these cancers overgrow and can be challenging to treat, there is a treatment that spans multiple disciplines.