A very rare form of cancer that many people have either never heard of or know little about is cribriform breast cancer. This type of cancer makes up 0.3 to 3.5 percent of cases of breast cancer, and it almost always co-occurs with other cancers. In about 5 to 6 percent of invasive breast cancers, some part of the tumor may be cribriform. On its own, the cribriform breast cancer is typically slow-growing, low-grade, and presents a generally favorable outlook. Here are some other important facts and details you need to know about this rare type of cancer.
10. It Can Be Detectable in a Self-Examination
When you perform regular self-exams, changes in your breasts are easier to find. Some of the cribriform symptoms may include a lump, a thickening of the breast, or a difference in the way your breast looks. However, cribriform breast cancer is usually found through regular screenings, so make sure you’re getting your routine mammograms. But any time you notice something that seems off, tell your doctor immediately, so you get your health-care team on the ball to find out what’s going on.
9. It Is Slow-Growing
As mentioned, cribriform breast cancer tumors are slow-growing, which means this cancer doesn’t spread to other tissues as rapidly as other cancers. This also means that initial treatments are generally able to target the entire tumor. Depending on the stage at which a diagnosis is made, treatment may vary, and it could include hormone treatments, radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery.
8. The Cellular Structure Resembles Swiss Cheese
Cribriform breast cancer cells grow in the connective tissues of the breast, creating nest-like formations between milk-producing glands and the ducts that carry milk. In a cribriform tumor, there are holes between the cancer cells, which make it look a lot like Swiss cheese at the molecular level.
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