Breast Cancer

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Breast cancer facts

  • Breast cancer affects over 230,000 women each year in the U.S.
  • Risk factors for developing breast cancer include female gender, age, certain inherited genetic mutations, and personal or family history of the condition.
  • Most breast cancers are of the infiltrating ductal type.
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a form of ductal cancer that consists of atypical cells that have not spread beyond the ducts of the breasts into the adjacent breast tissue. Because it is not an invasive cancer, it is highly curable.
  • Therapy for breast cancer depends partially upon the expression of tumor markers by the cancer cells, such as hormone receptors and the HER2 protein.
  • Surgery is a mainstay of treatment for breast cancer. Other treatments can include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy.
  • Survival rates for breast cancers diagnosed in the early stages are excellent.
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a technique to determine whether a breast cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a malignancy arising in the mammary glands. It affects both men and women, although it is far more common in women. Each year, over 230,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer and about 40,000 women die from the disease every year. Male breast cancer accounts for about 1% of all breast cancers. This article focuses on breast cancer in women.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/19/2014

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Advanced Breast Cancer in Young Women Increasing

A study published in February 2013 seems to indicate that the incidence of advanced breast cancer in young women is increasing. The study used data from the U.S. National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database and examined the number of women who were diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread to distant sites (like the lungs or brain) by the time of diagnosis.

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