Breast Cancer

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About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it's far more common in women.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. It mainly affects women, but in rare cases men can get breast cancer too. Breast cancer can cause symptoms such as a lump. However, a lump is not the only symptom of breast cancer. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. This means it’s important for women to check their breasts regularly and report any unusual changes to their GP.

Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to divide and grow in an abnormal way. Breasts contains lobules, which produce milk for breastfeeding. Tubes called ducts carry milk to the nipple. The most common type of breast cancer starts in the ducts. Less commonly, breast cancer can start in the lobules.

Symptoms

  • • A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
  • • Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
  • • Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
  • • A newly inverted nipple
  • • Peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin
  • • Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange

Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts (invasive ductal carcinoma). Breast cancer may also begin in the glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells or tissue within the breast.

Risk factors for Breast Cancer:

Age:   The chances of breast cancer increase as one gets older.

Family history:  The risk of breast cancer is higher among women who have relatives with the disease. Having a close relative with the disease (sister, mother, daughter) doubles a woman's risk.

Personal history:  Having been diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast increases the risk of cancer in the other breast or the chance of an additional cancer in the original breast.

Breast tissue:   Women with dense breast tissue (as documented by mammogram) have a higher risk of breast cancer.

Race:  White women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, but African-American women tend to have more aggressive tumors when they do develop breast cancer.

atients with breast cancer have many treatment options. Most treatments are adjusted specifically to the type of cancer and the staging group. Treatment options are being adjusted frequently and your health care provider will have the information on the current standard of care available. Treatment options should be discussed with a health care team. The following are the basic treatment modalities used in the treatment of breast cancer.