What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that can develop in one of several areas of the breast, including the
- ducts that carry milk to the nipple
- small sacs that produce milk (lobules)
- non-glandular tissue.
Breast cancer is considered invasive when the cancer cells have penetrated the lining of the ducts or lobules. That means the cancer cells can be found in the surrounding tissues, such as fatty and connective tissues or the skin. Noninvasive breast cancer (in situ) occurs when cancer cells fill the ducts or lobules but haven't spread into surrounding tissue.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
About the Author
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.