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

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 »

Breast disorders in men

While somewhat common in adolescence, gynecomastia in adult men is rare. It may be caused by liver disease, medications, or treatment for prostate cancer. (Locked) More »