Breast Cancer

Medically Reviewed on 2/18/2021

Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast self-examination (BSE), biopsy, and specialized testing on breast cancer tissue. Treatment of breast cancer may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Breast cancer risk may be lowered by managing controllable risk factors.

What you should know about breast cancer

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.
  • One in every eight women in the United States develops breast cancer.
  • There are many types of breast cancer that differ in their capability of spreading (metastasize) to other body tissues.
  • The causes of breast cancer are unknown, although medical professionals have identified a number of risk factors.
  • There are many different types of breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer symptoms and signs include
    • a lump in the breast or armpit,
    • bloody nipple discharge,
    • inverted nipple,
    • orange-peel texture or dimpling of the breast's skin (peau d'orange),
    • breast pain or sore nipple,
    • swollen lymph nodes in the neck or armpit, and
    • a change in the size or shape of the breast or nipple.
    • Breast cancer can also be symptom free, which makes following national screening recommendations an important practice.
  • Breast cancer is diagnosed during a physical exam, by a self-exam of the breasts, mammography, ultrasound testing, and biopsy.
  • Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type of cancer and its stage (0-IV) and may involve surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.

Breast Cancer Facts

Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer of American women, but it can also occur in men. Every year in the U.S., there are over 266,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer. A woman has a risk of one in eight for developing breast cancer at some point during her lifetime.

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