What Is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the breast. It occurs when there is an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the breast tissue. These cancerous cells can form a tumor or mass, which may be felt as a lump in the breast. Breast cancer can develop in different parts of the breast, including the milk ducts (ductal carcinoma), the milk-producing glands (lobular carcinoma), or other breast tissues.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women worldwide, but it can also affect men, although it is much less common in males. Risk factors for breast cancer include age, genetics, family history, hormonal factors, and lifestyle choices.

Symptoms of breast cancer may include:

1. A lump in the breast or underarm.
2. Changes in the size, shape, or appearance of the breast.
3. Nipple discharge, other than breast milk, that may be bloody.
4. Skin changes on the breast, such as redness, dimpling, or puckering.
5. Pain in the breast that is not related to the menstrual cycle.

Breast cancer is typically diagnosed through a combination of methods, including physical exams, mammograms, ultrasound, biopsies, and other imaging techniques. The stage and type of breast cancer are determined through these diagnostic tests, which helps guide the treatment plan.

Treatment for breast cancer often involves a combination of therapies, which may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy, depending on the specific characteristics of the cancer and the individual patient's needs. Early detection and advances in breast cancer treatment have improved survival rates for many individuals with this disease. Regular breast self-exams and mammograms, as recommended by healthcare professionals, are essential for early detection and improved outcomes.