Breast cancer

Alternative Names

Cancer – breast; Carcinoma – ductal; Carcinoma – lobular; DCIS; LCIS; HER2-positive breast cancer; ER-positive breast cancer; Ductal carcinoma in situ; Lobular carcinoma in situ

Definition of Breast cancer

Breast cancer is a cancer that starts in the tissues of the breast. There are two main types of breast cancer:

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Over the course of a lifetime, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Symptoms

Early breast cancer usually does not cause symptoms. This is why regular breast exams are important. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include:

Signs and tests

The doctor will ask you about your symptoms and risk factors. Then the doctor will perform a physical exam, which includes both breasts, armpits, and the neck and chest area.

Treatment

Treatment is based on many factors, including:

Expectations (prognosis)

New, improved treatments are helping persons with breast cancer live longer than ever before. However, even with treatment, breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes, cancer returns even after the entire tumor is removed and nearby lymph nodes are found to be cancer-free.

Review

Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/28/2010

Female Breast
Needle biopsy of the breast
Open biopsy of the breast
Breast self-exam
Breast self-exam
Breast self-exam
Mammary gland
Sentinel node biopsy
Mastectomy - series
Breast lump removal - series

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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