When abnormal cell growth occurs in the breast, this results in breast cancer.
These abnormal cells grow, divide and create new cells that the body does not need and that do not function.
These new cells form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
These tumors start out small and cannot be felt. As they grow they pose a serious threat to life by spreading throughout the breast and even to other parts of the body.
Breast cancer can be either invasive or non-invasive breast cancer. The most common type of invasive breast cancer is infiltrating ductal carcinoma. It is also called as invasive ductal carcinoma.
This type is found in approximately 60% of cases.
The other types of breast cancer include:
1. Paget's disease of the nipple
2. Inflammatory breast cancer.
3. Infiltrating lobular carcinoma (also called Invasive lobular carcinoma)
4. Intraductal carcinoma, also known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
5. Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
Breast cancer screening is very important. Screening before the symptoms of breast cancer can help doctors to find and treat the cancer in the early stage.
Warning signs that help detect breast cancer early on:
1. Lump in the breast or under the arm.
2. Thickening in an area of the breast.
3. Change in the size or shape of the breast.
4. Dimpling of the skin.
5. If the nipple changes shape – nipple turns in or sinks into the breasts.
6. Blood stained discharge from nipple.
7. Rash surrounding the nipple or on the nipple.
Although these symptoms could also be attributed to different medical conditions, it is important to get checked out by a doctor.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women of the United States. The second biggest risk factor after gender is age.
It is advised for women over 50 yrs of age to get a mammogram check up done at least once every two years.
According to the American Cancer Society 1 in 8 women develop breast cancer at some point in their life.
Breast cancer alone has resulted in thousands of deaths.
The overall percentage of deaths has been on the decline thanks to better diagnosis and early detection of cancer and of course better infrastructure and treatment.
There is an annual campaign in the United States to increase the awareness of breast cancer and October is proclaimed as the breast cancer awareness month. As per recent records, the United States is home to about 2.9 million survivors of breast cancer.