Breast Cancer

How common is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer and is a leading cause of death among women. About one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. In rare cases, men can also develop breast cancer.

Breast cancer incidence rates vary according to age, race and ethnicity.

Screening mammograms aid in the detection of breast cancer in its early stage, when it is likely to be most easily and successfully treated. Lifestyle factors and reproductive factors play a vital role in the development of breast cancer.

How does breast cancer develop?

Patients with early stage breast cancer may have no symptoms. However, one might experience symptoms as the cancer progresses. A lump or mass may develop in the breast. Breast cancer usually begins in the cells of the lobules or ducts of the breast. Invasive breast cancer is cancer that spreads outside the ducts or lobules of the breast into the surrounding normal breast tissue. Sometimes, invasive cancer cells may spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymphatic system, a network of lymph nodes and vessels. Cancer cells enter into lymph vessels in the breast and move to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. Lymph nodes are bean-shaped structures that drain fluid from the breast, neck, and underarm regions.

The risk of breast cancer increases with age.