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Breast Cancer

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Breast Cancer

After puberty, a woman's breast consists of fat, connective tissue, and thousands of lobules, tiny glands that produce milk for breast-feeding. Tiny tubes, or ducts, carry the milk toward the nipple.
nvasive breast cancer is when the cancer cells break out from inside the lobules or ducts and invade nearby tissue, increasing the chance of spreading to other parts of the body.

Fast facts on breast cancer:

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.
  • Symptoms include a lump or thickening of the breast, and changes to the skin or the nipple.
  • Risk factors can be genetic, but some lifestyle factors, such as alcohol intake, make it more likely to happen.
  • A range of treatments is available, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
  • Many breast lumps are not cancerous, but any woman who is concerned about a lump or change should see a doctor.

Symptoms

The first symptoms of breast cancer are usually an area of thickened tissue in the breast, or a lump in the breast or in an armpit.

  • a pain in the armpits or breast that does not change with the monthly cycle
  • pitting or redness of the skin of the breast, like the skin of an orange
  • a rash around or on one of the nipples
  • a discharge from a nipple, possibly containing blood
  • a sunken or inverted nipple
  • a change in the size or shape of the breast
  • peeling, flaking, or scaling of the skin on the breast or nipple

The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma, which begins in the cells of the ducts. Breast cancer can also begin in the cells of the lobules and in other tissues in the breast. Ductal carcinoma in situ is a condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of the ducts but they haven't spread outside the duct. Breast cancer that has spread from where it began in the ducts or lobules to surrounding tissue is called invasive breast cancer. In inflammatory breast cancer, the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm because the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin.