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What is breast cancer?

*Please note that we are not in a position to give you medical advice. Every case is different and every woman needs specific care. You can refer to your physician if you are seeking medical consultation.

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body multiply uncontrollably. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. Deaths from breast cancer have declined over time, but the disease continues to be the second leading cause of cancer death for women overall and the leading cause of cancer death for Hispanic women.

Each year in the United States, approximately 255,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and around 2,300 in men. Each year in the United States, about 42,000 women and 500 men die from breast cancer. Black women have a higher rate of dying from breast cancer than white women.

In this type of cancer, cells in the breast multiply uncontrollably. There are different types of breast cancer, and it depends on which cells in the breast become cancerous. It can start in several parts of the breast. The breasts consist of three main structures: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. Lobules are the glands that make milk, and ducts are the tubes that carry milk to the nipple. Connective tissue (made up of fibrous and fatty tissue) surrounds and supports all parts of the breast. Most breast cancers start in the ducts or lobules.

Breast cancer can spread outside of the breast through blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.

The warning signs of breast cancer can be different for each person, and some people do not have any signs or symptoms. Some warning signs of breast cancer are:

● A new lump in the breast or armpit (under the arm).

● Increased thickness or swelling of part of the breast.

● Irritation or sagging of the skin of the breast.

● Redness or peeling in the nipple or breast area.

● Sinking of the nipple or pain in that area.

● Nipple discharge, other than milk, even blood.

● Any change in the size or shape of the breast.

● Pain in any part of the breast.