Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one of several areas of the breast, including the ducts that carry milk to the nipple, small sacs that produce milk (lobules), and nonglandular tissue. Sometimes breast cancer stays in the tissue in which it began. Bit it can also move into other nearby tissue or lymph nodes.

Breast cancer does not discriminate. It affects mothers, daughters, working women, celebrities — and even some men. For women, the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 1 in 8; for men it is 1 in 1,000.

Some women are more likely to develop breast cancer than others. They include older women; those who have a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer; those who have previously had breast cancer or a benign breast condition; women with dense breasts; those who have had radiation to the chest or breast; and women who drink a lot of alcohol. Having several risk factors doesn't mean a woman will inevitably develop breast cancer. Likewise, having few risk factors doesn't offer 100% protection against it.

Treatments for breast cancer include removal of the affected breast (mastectomy), removal of the tumor and small amount of surrounding tissue (lumpectomy), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.

Breast Cancer Articles

Good news about early-stage breast cancer for older women

Older women have many options for breast cancer screening and treatment. They should make these decisions based on their health, life expectancy, and personal preferences. They can expect to do as well as younger women with the same type of breast cancer. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Heart risks of breast cancer treatment

Radiation and chemotherapy can damage heart structures and lead to heart attacks or other cardiac problems later on. Baseline imaging tests before treatment starts may help doctors monitor heart changes. A healthy lifestyle can also decrease heart risks. (Locked) More »

Medicines to prevent breast cancer

Certain medications can help lower a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer. Women who are at high risk for breast cancer but low risk of side effects should talk with their primary care doctors—and consult with a breast cancer specialist—to see if these drugs are a good option for them. More »