Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the tissues of the human breast. It's the second most common cancer in women, but can also affect men. There are two main kinds of breast cancer. The more typical of the two, ductal carcinoma, begins in the ducts, or tubes, that carry milk from the interior of the breast to the nipple. The other major type is lobular carcinoma. It begins in the lobules, which are the parts of the breast that secrete milk.
Breast cancer is one of the most feared cancers for women, not only because it's potentially fatal but also simply because it can lead to disfigurement and worries about the loss of femininity. It may also develop for a long time before obvious symptoms appear. One reason why periodic screening for changes in breast tissue is so important for women over the age of twenty is that breast cancer is highly treatable when caught early.
In the early stages of breast cancer, a woman (or man) may not notice any differences in the size and shape of the breasts. The most noticeable symptom of breast cancer is a lump or thickened region in the breast. Not all such lumps are cancerous; many women notice that the texture of their breasts changes during pregnancy or their menstrual periods. Lumps in the breast can also be caused by noncancerous cysts. Nonetheless, a woman (or man) who notices a lump in the breast should tell their doctor.
Breast cancer is one of the most typical cancers in women, affecting one in every eight women in the United States in the course of her lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 68,000 cases of carcinoma in situ (noninvasive or stage 0 breast cancer) in the United States each year, and 183,000 cases of invasive breast cancer (stages I through IV).\
About 2,000 American men will probably be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer among women in the United States; only lung cancer is deadlier. About 41,000 American women and 450 men die each year from breast cancer. The death rate has decreased in recent years, largely as a result of earlier detection. There had been an estimated 2.5 million survivors of breast cancer in the United States as of 2008. Risk factors for breast cancer include:
The cause of breast cancer isn't known. Most researchers think that the illness results from a combination of genetic elements and environmental influences. Breast cancer has no symptoms in its earliest stages. The first noticeable symptoms might include:
Regular screening for breast cancer is important. All women over twenty should discover to perform breast self-examination and check their breasts once a month after the menstrual period. Other screening tests include a breast examination by the doctor as component of a routine office go to, and a mammogram, which is an x-ray study of the breast. Imaging studies (magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] or ultrasound) are done when a mammogram yields abnormal findings.
The definitive test for diagnosing breast cancer is really a biopsy. The physician might remove some tissue via a fine needle (aspiration biopsy) or if a larger sample is needed, via a larger needle (core biopsy). The most accurate technique is a surgical biopsy, in which the surgeon removes all or part of a lump for examination under a microscope.
The first step in treating any kind of cancer is staging. Staging is a description of the location of the cancer, its size, how far it has penetrated into healthy tissue, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer is classified into five stages:
Surgeons are more likely to recommend one kind or another of breastsparing surgery:
The prognosis for breast cancer depends on its stage at the time of diagnosis and the number of lymph nodes that had been involved when the cancer was discovered. Women whose tumors had been smaller than three-quarters of an inch with no lymph node involvement have a survival rate of 96 percent five years after diagnosis; those with tumors larger than two inches with several lymph nodes involved have a five-year survival rate of only 45 percent.
You will find no guarantees that a particular woman will not get breast cancer, but you will find some steps women can take to reduce their risk:
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