At what age does breast cancer usually develop?

8:03 PM, Oct 2, 2012   |    comments
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By Kay Quinn Healthbeat Reporter

St. Louis (KSDK) - On this week's 8 Ways to Prevent Cancer segment, we answer a question e-mailed to us from a viewer.

She wanted to know how many different types of breast cancer are there and at what age they usually begin to develop.

"We can actually describe about six to eight different distinct types of breast cancer," said Dr. Julie Morganthaler with the Siteman Cancer Center.

But 90 to 95 percent of all women are diagnosed with one of two types: ductal, which comes from the milk ducts and lobular, which comes from the milk sac where the milk is made.

"And of all cancers, the primary age or median age of all cancers is 61. Although 10 percent of all breast cancers are found in women less than age 40 to 45, women who are not traditionally getting mammograms," said Dr. Morganthaler.

There are some rarer types including things like tubular breast cancer and mucinous breast cancer. There's also inflammatory breast cancer, which is cancer that's invaded the skin of the breast. Then within these categories, there are distinct properties of each type of cancer.

"That is what differentiates whether they're faster growing or slower growing and specifically whether they're hormone responsive and dictate whether or not they're more aggressive or not," said Dr. Morganthaler.

But the most common?

"Definitely the most common breast cancer is an invasive, ductal cancer that is estrogen positive or hormone driven," said Dr. Morganthaler.


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