Again, to understand breast cancer it is helpful to have some appreciation of human biology. The diagram below shows a cross section of the breast illustrating the major structures within the breast. Within the breast we have structures called lobes, which house lobules that produce milk. Leading from the lobes to the nipple are passageways called milk ducts which carry milk from the lobules to the nipple when it is required. All these structures sit in fatty tissue and surrounding the ducts and lobes are blood vessels
and lymphatic vessels, which together have the function of removing and carrying material (nutrients, harmful material) to various structures in the breast. All the main structures in the breast (lobe, lobules, and milk ducts) are very important in breast cancer as they are lined with cells, which can become cancerous.
Breast cancer is not just one disease but a collection of different types of diseases. There are many types of breast cancers and as an example here are two of the most
Ductal Breast Cancer – this type starts in the cells that line the milk ducts. 70-80% of cancer are of this type
Lobular Breast Cancer – this form develops in cells within the breast lobules. 8-10% of breast cancers are of this type
Other types of breast cancer include inflammatory breast cancer, Paget’s Disease, Medullary breast cancer, Mucoid Breast Cancer, Tubular Breast Cancer, Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the Breast, Papillary Breast Cancer, Metaplastic Breast Cancer, Angiosarcoma of the breast, Cytosarcoma Phyllodes, Lymphoma of the breast and Basal Breast Cancer.