How Does Breast Cancer Spread?
Whether you found an unusual lump in your breast or have been officially diagnosed with a tumour in the breast, it is quite normal to wonder how severe it is and how breast cancer spreads. Breast cancer can be invasive or non-invasive. Non-invasive breast cancer is the stage at which the tumour cell remains within the breast duct. When these tumour cells spread to other tissues and lymph nodes, it becomes invasive breast cancer.
Breast cancer is one of the common cancer diagnoses. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among post-menopausal women worldwide. It is a complex illness comprising several subtypes and stages, and approximately 280000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.
Recent advances in medicine have enabled the incorporation of personalized treatment regimens for breast cancer. New treatment strategies have paved the way to stop the spread of breast cancer by improving survival rates and quality of life. Various approaches such as hormonal treatment, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, etc., are available for patients with breast cancer diagnoses.
Can Breast Cancer Grow In A Year?
It is hard to determine the timeline with which cancer spreads as breast cancer affects different people differently. People who are fortunate enough to detect them in the earliest stages can completely become cancer-free with appropriate treatment. In such cases, cancer does not recur, and there is no chance for cancer to spread.
Breast cancer can stay within the breast or spread to the nearby organs through the process named metastasis. Usually, a newly formed tumour takes decades to spread and undergo metastasis. Before deciding the time frame of breast cancer growth in a year, you must consider several factors. For example, a study published by Lee et al. reported that people who carry triple-negative and HER2 positive breast cancer genes are more vulnerable as these two types develop the fastest.
How Breast Cancer Spreads?
Breast cancer starts in the cells lining your chest. Almost all the tumours developed in the breast are cancerous, and the tumours develop in the chest's milk ducts or milk glands.
The cancer cells form a mass called the primary tumour, and they begin to grow into the surrounding tissues and nearby lymph nodes. These cancer cells travel through blood and lymph vessels to other tissues and parts of the body, which is when metastasis occurs. When breast cancer spreads to the lungs, liver, spine or brain, it is still called breast cancer.
Factors That Influence Breast Cancer Spreads
1. Delay In Seeking Treatment:
It is quite valid to wait for a second opinion on breast cancer diagnosis. But waiting too long can hamper the possibility of preventing the disease's progression. Earlier stages of breast cancer are treatable through surgical procedures when you start treatment at the appropriate time. However, when a delay in this process happens, the oncologist will rule out the option of surgery to remove the tumour.
Researchers have claimed that bigger tumours have more chances of involving lymph nodes surrounding the breast tissue. Tumour size more than 5 cm involving nearby lymph nodes is more likely to spread to distant organs.
3. Receptors Involved In Breast Cancer:
Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2 (HER2), progesterone receptor (PR), estrogen receptor (ER), and proliferation (Ki-67) status are the most vital parameters to predict the possibility of survival in breast cancer patients. The above receptors in the cancer cells also determine how breast cancer spreads to other organs.
4. Age At The Time Of Diagnosis:
When a person receives their breast cancer diagnosis for the first time, their age is important to determine how breast cancer spreads and the type of treatment required. Younger women tend to undergo more aggressive tumour growth within a short time compared to elderly women. This might be since older women are more likely to develop hormonal tumours, which are relatively slower in development.
Can You Do Anything To Stop Breast Cancer From Spreading?
Earlier, we discussed how breast cancer spreads and the factors that influence breast cancer development. It is not entirely possible to prevent cancer from spreading. But you can follow certain lifestyle modifications like eating a well balanced diet, and maintaining healthy weight to slow down the rate at which breast cancer spreads.
You can control how you eat and how regularly you take your medicines. Take part in exercise programs and learn to manage stress effectively. Attend screening sessions whenever your oncologist suggests you do so. The spreading of breast cancer may vary according to individuals but early detection and treatment can guarantee better health outcomes.