If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, many thoughts are racing through your mind. As you seek the best possible care, know that our renowned Breast Care Team is on your side in this fight. At the Breast Center at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital we are able to provide comprehensive,
compassionate care from diagnosis through treatment to survival.
The stage and the type of cancer that you have will determine your treatment plan. The Breast Care Team works together to determine a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. As you and the team make decisions about your treatment plan, your Breast Care Navigator will be with you every step of the way to make sure that you and your family fully understands each step of the process.
There are many different types of breast cancer, including:
Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS)
–DCIS is a common type of non-invasive breast cancer. Breast cancer cells are located in the lining of the milk ducts and have not yet invaded nearby tissue.
Lobular Carcinoma In-Situ (LCIS)
– LCIS is not a true cancer but is sometimes classified as a non-invasive breast cancer. It is located in the lobules (milk producing organs) and has not invaded nearby tissue. Women who have had LCIS have a higher chance of developing an invasive breast cancer and need closer monitoring.
Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
– IDC is also referred to as Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and is the most common type of breast cancer. This type of cancer starts in the milk ducts and grows into the fatty tissue of the breast. This cancer has the potential to spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or the bloodstream.
Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)
–ILC is also referred to as Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. This type of cancer starts in the lobules (milk producing organs) and much like IDC, has the potential to spread to other parts of the body.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)
–IBC is a more rare type of invasive cancer that does not produce any lumps or tumors. Instead, it makes the skin of the breast look red and feel warm. The breast may become larger and more tender. Because of these changes it is often initially treated as an infection. If antibiotics do not help, the skin may be biopsied to identify cancer cells. This type of cancer is hard to detect in its early stages because there are no lumps and mammograms may not show any abnormalities.
Breast cancers can also be described as:
- Hormone Receptor Positive — In this type of cancer the hormone estrogen causes the breast cancer tumor to grow.
- HER2 Positive — HER refers to a protein that promotes cancer cell growth. In this type of cancer a gene mutation causes there to be an excess of the HER protein, causing the breast cancer cells to grow faster.
- Hormone Receptor Negative plus HER2 Negative — also known as Triple Negative
- Triple Negative — In this type of breast cancer, the cells lack estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors and do not have an excess of the HER2 protein on their surfaces. This type of cancer typically spreads faster than other invasive cancers and is more common in younger women and in African American women.
The treatment plan that you and your physician decide on will depend on the type of cancer.
Staging is the process of determining the size of the cancer and where it is located. The staging process is important in creating the best possible treatment plan for you. When staging breast cancer, your physician will perform exams and tests to look at three primary factors — the size of the tumor, if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
There are three basic phases of breast cancer
Early Breast Cancer is typically stages zero and one. In early breast cancer, the tumor is fairly small and the cancer cells have not spread outside of the breast tissue.
Locally Advanced Breast Cancer is typically stages II and III. At this point the tumor may be a little larger and the cancer cells may have spread to the underarm lymph nodes.
Metastatic Breast Cancer is typically stage IV. The cancer cells have spread to other organs and tissues in the body.After determining your stage of breast cancer, you and the Breast Care Team will design a treatment plan that is tailored to fit your individual needs.
For more information about the stages of breast cancer, visit the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:
The Breast Care Team will select the appropriate tests needed to determine the stage of your breast cancer.