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What is Breast Cancer?

Definition, Types of Breast Cancer, Common Symptoms


Updated December 16, 2014

Breast cancer is a malignant (cancerous) growth that begins in the tissues of the breast. Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can also appear in men. In the U.S., it affects one in eight women.

The most common types of breast cancer are:

Invasive (Infiltrating) Breast Cancer
Invasive, or infiltrating, breast cancer has the potential to spread out of the original tumor site and invade other parts of your breast and body. There are several types and subtypes of invasive breast cancer.

Less common are:

Symptoms of Breast Cancer:

If You Have Breast Pain

Early stages of breast cancer may not cause any pain or discomfort. Having a regular mammogram and a clinical breast exam by your health professional can help you understand changes in your breasts. Doing your breast self-exam can help you keep track of regular monthly changes.

Remember, many lumps and rashes are benign (not cancerous) and can respond well to proper treatment. If you experience any symptoms that cause you concern, see your doctor.

Treatments for breast cancer, as well as survival rates, are improving. Early detection and medical help is critical to improving the chances of living beyond a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Read about breast cancer symptoms and their explanations.

Sign up for a free e-course for Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Patients.

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