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

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 but haven't spread into surrounding tissue. (Locked) More »

Another drug prevents breast cancer in postmenopausal women

Exemestane (Aromasin), tamoxifen (Nolvadex, generic) and raloxifene (Evista) are three drugs used to prevent breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are at elevated risk for the disease. Exemestane appears to have less frightening side effects — hot flashes, joint pain, and loss of bone density. All three of these drugs target estrogen, which fuels the growth of most breast cancers, but exemestane belongs to a different class of drugs, called aromatase inhibitors, which work by blocking the body's production of estrogen. Previous studies have shown that aromatase inhibitors are more effective than tamoxifen in preventing breast cancer from recurring. This study, funded Pfizer, and conducted under the auspices of the National Cancer Institute's clinical trials unit, looked at whether exemestane could reduce the likelihood of a first occurrence of breast cancer. (Locked) More »

Soy may be okay for breast cancer survivors

Soy seemed to be just the ticket for women: heart-healthy, good for bones, and helpful for hot flashes. And then there was the low rate of breast cancer in soy-consuming countries. Early research indicated that soy protein could lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. The latest study suggests that breast cancer survivors can eat soy foods in moderation. (Locked) More »

Finding lung cancer early

A large study evaluating the effectiveness of using CT scans to screen for lung cancer could lead to earlier detection and treatment, and possibly fewer deaths. In November 2010, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced preliminary results from the largest randomized trial of lung cancer screening ever conducted. The study, called the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), included over 53,000 current and former heavy smokers, ages 55 to 74, who had no signs or symptoms of lung cancer when they agreed to be in the study. The full results of the trial haven't even been reported yet. The NCI has said publication in a peer-reviewed journal is scheduled for some time in 2011. The full results should have breakdowns by gender, race, smoking status (current vs. former), and other details that may be revealing about who will benefit most from screening with CT scans. More »

Calcium beyond the bones

Though calcium is essential for bones and muscles, it can accumulate in the body in unwanted places. There is concern that calcium intake may be to blame for calcium buildups in joint and tendons as well as kidney stones and breast calcifications. So how does calcium get deposited beyond the bones? Here's what we know so far. More »