Breast cancer is a malignant disease that affects mainly women due to an uncontrollable growth of cells in the breast. Improvements in prevention and diagnosis have resulted in earlier diagnosis and treatment.
When a physician suspects breast cancer, a biopsy is usually requested. During the procedure, a sample of breast tissue is collected to be analyzed under a microscope. To confirm the diagnosis, the cancer care medical team will define a treatment plan and make a prognosis. In order to accomplish this, physicians usually classify the breast cancer according to a series of standard parameters, including type, grade, stage, and gene expression of the breast cancer.
1. Classification Based on Breast Cancer Type: The tissue analyzed during a biopsy can reveal the presence of cancer and if it is a carcinoma or other type of cancer, such as sarcoma. Among the different types of breast cancer, the most common is ductal carcinoma, which means the original site of the disease is within the ducts, which are the tubes that transport milk to the nipple. The cancer can be classified as in situ, which means it is not invasive, or as an invasive breast cancer. (Read more about it here)
2. Classification Based on Breast Cancer Grade: The grade of the breast cancer is also used to classify the disease by a pathologist. The grade is defined according to the appearance of the tissue on the biopsy, how closely it looks compared to healthy tissue, and how fast the cancer cells divide. A lower grade usually means the cancer grows slower and is less likely to metastasize, but a higher grade refers to a faster cancer growth with a higher probability of spreading. (Read more about it here)
3. Classification Based on Breast Cancer Stage: The stages of breast cancer refer to the extent and evolution of the breast cancer, and they are expressed in roman letters from one to four, but terms like “locally advanced” or “regionally advanced” may also be used. In stage I, patients usually suffer from invasive breast cancer, while IA refers to a tumor smaller than two centimeters which has spread to the lymph nodes but not outside the breasts, and IB to isolated cancerous patches rather than a mass that measures 0.2 to two millimeters. (Read more about Stage II, III and IV here)
4. Breast Cancer Classification Based on Gene Expression: “Research on patterns of gene expression has also suggested some newer ways to classify breast cancers,” explains the American Cancer Society. “The current types of breast cancer are based largely on how tumors look under a microscope. A newer classification, based on molecular features, divides breast cancers into four groups.” (Read more about it here)
Breast Cancer News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.