What is Secretory Breast Carcinoma?

Secretory breast carcinoma (SBC) is a very rare form of breast cancer that tends to happen in younger people. It mainly affects girls and women. But as with other types of breast cancer, boys and men can sometimes get it too. However, that happens even more rarely.1

Secretory breast carcinoma was first identified in children and adolescents, so it was originally named “juvenile breast carcinoma.” SBC is the most common type of breast cancer to be diagnosed in children or adolescents.2 However, over the last few decades, people of all ages have been diagnosed with the disease, including women after menopause. So researchers decided to change the name to secretory breast carcinoma.1

What are symptoms of secretory breast carcinoma?

Most people with SBC get a hard, painless lump in their breast. The lump often feels like a solid mass that can move when you touch it. Some people with SBC also have nipple discharge.1 That’s because SBC tumors tend to produce a milk-like discharge, or fluid.3 The tumors that are associated with this disease tend to be very slow-growing. They often appear below the areola – the darker colored part of the breast just outside the nipple.4

How do you treat secretory breast carcinoma?

SBC is a rare type of breast cancer, accounting for less than 0.02 percent of all infiltrating breast cancers. These are tumors that occur outside of the duct cells and can therefore spread.5 Partly because of how rare it is, health care providers have not determined specific, well-defined ways to treat SBC.1 Treatment choices generally depend on the person’s age and the size of the tumor.

Options are similar to other kinds of breast cancer treatment, including surgery to remove the lump or the breast, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.1

What is the prognosis for secretory breast carcinoma?

In general, the prognosis for people with SBC is excellent, meaning that most people who have the disease are most likely to recover. Young people diagnosed with SBC have an especially high survival rate.2 This is true even when the tumor spreads to the lymph nodes. In some cases, an SBC tumor may come back, even after surgery. If it does, it is generally after many years and in the same place as the original tumor. There is a very low risk of SBC tumors spreading to other parts of the body.1

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