What is it?

Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. It is the most common type of cancer in women in the U.S.
There are different types of breast cancer. The most common type is ductal carcinoma, which begins in the breast’s ducts. Other types include lobular carcinoma and inflammatory breast cancer.
Breast cancer is much more common in women, but men can get it as well.
Like most cancer types, breast cancer is divided into stages, according to how much it has spread out of the breast tissue into the rest of your body.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Malignant Neoplasm of Lower-Inner Quadrant of Breast
- Malignant Neoplasm of Nipple
- Malignant Neoplasm of Upper-Outer Quadrant of Breast
- Malignant Neoplasm of Central Portion of Breast
- Malignant Neoplasm of Upper-Inner Quadrant of Breast
- Malignant Neoplasm of Lower-Outer Quadrant of Breast
- Malignant Neoplasm of Axillary Tail of Breast

Signs & symptoms

Signs of breast cancer include a breast lump or change in the size or shape of your breast.
Nipple changes or discharge might also appear.

Diagnosis

After examining your breast and armpit, and taking a thorough medical history, you doctor will refer you to the following tests:
-Imaging test- either a mammography which is a breast x-ray, or an Ultrasound.
-Biopsy- The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer and for the presence of specific hormonal receptors.

Treatment

The type of treatment depends on the type of cancer, its stage, the hormonal receptors, HER2 status and your general health.
-Surgery- either a breast conserving surgery, in which only the lump is removed, or a surgery called mastectomy in which the entire breast tissue is taken out. In some cases, a lymph node in your armpit will be examined for the presence of cancer cells during the surgery and may be removed as well.
-Radiation therapy- high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation used to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.
-Chemotherapy- medication that will kill cancerous cells or stop their growing.
-Other type of medications including hormone therapy, target therapy and immunotherapy

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

Learn more about our editorial process for content accuracy.

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