Breast cancer

Cancer - breast; Carcinoma - ductal; Carcinoma - lobular; DCIS; LCIS; HER2-positive breast cancer; ER-positive breast cancer; Ductal carcinoma in situ; Lobular carcinoma in situ

Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the tissues of the breast. There are two main types of breast cancer:

  • Ductal carcinoma starts in the tubes (ducts) that carry milk from the breast to the nipple. Most breast cancers are of this type.
  • Lobular carcinoma starts in the parts of the breast, called lobules, which produce milk.

In rare cases, breast cancer can start in other areas of the breast.

The older you get, the greater your breast cancer risk.The correct answer is true. Most advanced cases of breast cancer are found in women over age 50. To help find breast cancer early, all women over 40 should talk with their doctor about what they should do for breast cancer screening. If you have certain risk factors, your doctor may recommend starting breast cancer screening earlier.Men cannot get breast cancer.The correct answer is false. Men can get breast cancer. But their risk is 100 times smaller than a woman's risk.Your breast cancer risk is higher if you have a family history of:The correct answer is all of the above. Tell your doctor if a close relative has had ovarian, colon, uterine, or breast cancer. You may benefit from enhanced breast cancer screening, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).Most women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.The correct answer is false. Only 20-30% of women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease. So it's important to be aware of changes in your breasts and get regular mammograms, even if you have no family history.The BRCA gene plays a role in your lifetime breast cancer risk:The correct answer is true. Genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 make proteins that protect against cancer. Having a mutation in one of these genes increases your risk of breast cancer by as much as 80%. If you are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent or have a family history of breast cancer, you may want to talk with your doctor about genetic testing.Your breast cancer risk is higher if you got your first period after age 13.The correct answer is false. Being a late bloomer lowers your breast cancer risk. Your risk is higher if you got your first period before age 12. Going through menopause late (after age 55) also increases your risk.Having your first child before age 30:The correct answer is decreases your breast cancer risk. Women who have no children or have them after age 30 are more likely to get breast cancer. Becoming pregnant at an earlier age and being pregnant more than once can reduce your risk.Hormone therapy for menopause can raise your breast cancer risk.The correct answer is true. Using hormones to treat the symptoms of menopause for a long period of time can raise your breast cancer risk a small amount. Most guidelines consider hormone therapy safe for breast cancer risk when taken for up to 5 years.Alcohol may raise your breast cancer risk if you have more than:The correct answer is 1 to 2 drinks a day. You can lower your breast cancer risk by sticking to one drink a day or less. Women with a high risk of developing breast cancer should consider avoiding alcohol altogether.Putting on too much weight can raise your breast cancer risk.The correct answer is true. There is a link between obesity and breast cancer, although doctors aren't sure why. One theory is that obese women produce more estrogen, which fuels the development of breast cancer. Consider it one more reason to strive for a healthy weight.Which is most likely to raise your breast cancer risk?The correct answer is none of the above. Feel free to wear any style of bra you like without increasing your risk of breast cancer. Breast implants and daily antiperspirant use also have no effect.Which could be a sign of breast cancer?The correct answer is all of the above. See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. But keep in mind that early breast cancer most often has no symptoms. That's why regular screenings are important.
Female Breast

The female breast is either of two mammary glands (organs of milk secretion) on the chest.

Needle biopsy of the breast

A needle biopsy is performed under local anesthesia. Simple aspirations are performed with a small gauge needle to attempt to draw fluid from lumps that are thought to be cysts. Fine needle biopsy uses a larger needle to make multiple passes through a lump, drawing out tissue and fluid. Withdrawn fluid and tissue is further evaluated to determine if there are cancerous cells present.

Open biopsy of the breast

An open biopsy can be performed under local or general anesthesia and will leave a small scar. Prior to surgery, a radiologist often first marks the lump with a wire, making it easier for the surgeon to find.

Breast self-exam

Monthly breast self-exams should always include: visual inspection (with and without a mirror) to note any changes in contour or texture; and manual inspection in standing and reclining positions to note any unusual lumps or thicknesses.

Breast self-exam

Monthly breast self-exams should always include: visual inspection (with and without a mirror) to note any changes in contour or texture; and manual inspection in standing and reclining positions to note any unusual lumps or thicknesses.

Breast self-exam

Monthly breast self-exams should always include: visual inspection (with and without a mirror) to note any changes in contour or texture; and manual inspection in standing and reclining positions to note any unusual lumps or thicknesses.

Lumpectomy

Lumpectomy is a surgical procedure performed on a solid breast mass to determine if it is malignant. The suspicious lump and some surrounding tissue is excised and analyzed.

Breast lump removal - Series

The female breast is composed mainly of fatty tissue interspersed with fibrous or connective tissue. The circular region around the nipple is often a different color or pigmented. This region is called the areola.

Mastectomy - Series

The female breast is composed mainly of fatty tissue interspersed with fibrous or connective tissue. The circular region around the nipple is often a different color or pigmented. This region is called the areola.

Sentinel node biopsy

Sentinel node biopsy is a technique which helps determine if a cancer has spread (metastisized), or is contained locally. When a cancer has been detected, often the next step is to find the lymph node closest to the tumor site and retrieve it for analysis. The concept of the sentinel node, or the first node to drain the area of the cancer, allows a more accurate staging of the cancer, and leaves unaffected nodes behind to continue the important job of draining fluids. The procedure involves the injection of a dye (sometimes mildly radioactive) to pinpoint the lymph node which is closest to the cancer site. Sentinel node biopsy is used to stage many kinds of cancer, including lung and skin (melanoma).

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention