Each year, more than 192,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the Web site www.nbcam.org/disease. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. In the US alone, there are 2.5 million survivors of breast cancer.

Breast cancer can develop in one or both breasts, in men or women. It is more common for women to develop breast cancer than other kinds of cancer. There are several types of breast cancer, including noninvasive cancers and invasive cancers.

Noninvasive cancers are known as “carcinoma in situ” which is referred to as DCIS. Lobular carcinoma in situ is referred to as LCIS. LCIS can be a warning sign of one developing breast cancer; this could be in the same breast or the opposite one that it is found in. Most noninvasive cancers are DCIS, which means cancer cells are in the ducts or lobules of the breast. Without treatment, DCIS may lead to invasive cancer.

Invasive cancer can spread and affect more areas of one’s body, including the bones, liver, lungs, and brain. There are also several types of invasive cancers.

Breast cancer consists of many different stages and since cancers are not the same, the stages depend on the size of the tumor, as well as if the cancer has spread. The higher the stage number one is in, the more advanced the cancer is. Patients should talk to their doctors about the stage of their cancer.

In stage zero, the cancer is in the ducts or the lobules of the breast. It could be DCIS, which has the possibility of leading to invasive cancer if it is not treated. LCIS increases the chance of one having cancer; LCIS is not usually invasive cancer.

Stage one consists of having invasive cancer that has not spread to other areas. Early stages of breast cancer may have patients in stage one, depending on the size of the tumor. Patients can be in stage one with a tumor that is less than two centimeters.

Stage two has subgroups, which also depend on the size of the tumor. The tumor could still be less than two centimeters or be less than five centimeters without spreading. By the third stage, the cancer may present as a large tumor and is advanced.

In stage four, the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Patients who have recurrent cancer, cancer that has come back to the breast or to another part of the body, are in stage four.

It is important for cancer survivors to continue to have doctor check-ups. The doctor will examine the breasts, chest, neck, and underarms. Doctor exams should occur every three to six months, during the three years following therapy. The next two years after that, doctors recommend survivors to be checked every six to 12 months. Survivors should get-checked out annually after this.

This information was found on www.nbcam.org/disease. To find out more on breast cancer or the stages of the cancer, and how to detect breast cancer, see the Web site. If one may have detected a lump in their breast, get checked out by a doctor.

Ginger Rae Dunbar is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at RD655287@wcupa.edu.

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