What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer describes when cells in the breasts grow out of control.
These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is cancerous (or malignant) if the cells invade surrounding tissues or spread to other areas of the body. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too.
Cells in almost any part of the body can become cancerous and can spread to other areas of the body but this information refers only to breast cancer in women.
Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple and some start in the glands that make breast milk. There are also other types of breast cancer, but these are less common.
A small number of cancers start in other tissues in the breast. These cancers are called sarcomas and lymphomas and are not really thought of as breast cancers.
Although many types of breast cancer can cause a lump in the breast, not all do. There are other symptoms of breast cancer you should watch out for and report to a health care provider.
It’s also important to understand that most breast lumps are not cancer, they are benign. Benign breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast and they are not life threatening. But some benign breast lumps can increase a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer.
Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care provider to determine whether it is benign or cancer, and whether it might impact your future cancer risk.
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Please contact us if you have any concerns regarding breast cancer.