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Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures

Breast Cancer

Types of Breast Cancer

Non invasive breast cancer is also called "in situ" cancer. The breast cancer cells have not gone beyond the breast ducts or lobules and therefore do not have the ability to spread to other parts of the body. They do not grow into or invade normal tissues within or beyond the breast. Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) is considered to be a type of non-invasive breast cancer.

Invasive breast cancer occurs when breast cancer cells leave the milk ducts and enter into normal breast tissue. This type of breast cancer can also reach the lymph nodes near the breast. Invasive cancers can also spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymphatic system.

Locally advanced breast cancer is described as a large tumor that has spread to other tissues near the breast (such as the skin or chest wall), or has spread to lymph nodes. With locally advanced breast cancer, your physician will be able to feel your tumor or enlarged lymph nodes during an exam.

Metastatic breast cancer is a cancer that started in the breast but has traveled through the lymph channels or blood vessels to grow in other organs in the body such as the lungs, liver or bones.

Breast cancer in men
Men have breast tissue just like women, and can develop breast cancer. In Canada, less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men. Breast cancer is most commonly diagnosed in men over 60, but can be found in men of all ages.

As breast cancer is the same for both men and women, our information about risk factors, diagnosis, staging, and treatment are the same for both.

Breast health starts with knowing your breasts so that you are more likely to notice changes that may lead to problems. The most frequently diagnosed kind of breast cancer in men is found in the breast ducts (ductal carcinoma). Common symptoms are:

  • a small, painless lump close in the breast
  • a small discharge from the nipple

It's important to remember that most breast problems are not breast cancer, but a visit to your doctor will help find out what the problem is and if it needs treatment.

Being a man and being treated for breast cancer can affect how you feel about your body and your sexuality. Whether you're single or have a partner, talking about these issues and finding information to help you cope can be difficult. A good start is to talk to your healthcare team. They can help you get the information and support that you need.

From the Website of the Canadian Cancer Society: www.cancer.ca

Visit the Breast Care Group at Odette Cancer Centre