What is Breast Cancer?

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Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. A malignant  tumor that has developed from cells in the breast is referred to as “breast cancer”. Typically, breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands, or the ducts, the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple. Less commonly, breast cancer can begin in the stromal tissues, which include the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast.

Cancer cells can invade nearby healthy breast tissue and make their way into the underarm lymph nodes, small organs that filter out foreign substances in the body over a course of time. If the cancer cells get into the lymph nodes, they then have a pathway into other parts of the body. The breast cancer’s stage refers to how far the cancer cells have spread beyond the original tumor 

While progress has been made across the board, including less invasive surgeries, genetic testing and more advanced diagnostic technology, an estimated 40,000 women are expected to die from breast cancer this year.

That means breast cancer is still one of the top killers of women in the United States, more than accidents, pneumonia or the flu. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S., other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

That's the bad news. But there's good news as well. Right now there are about two and a half million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

Breast cancer death rates are going down. This is the result of advances in treatment and more women having mammograms which can find the cancer during its earliest, most curable stages.

The chance of a woman having breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8 while the chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35. About 182,460 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

There are steps each person can take to stay as healthy as possible. Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, limiting alcohol, and exercising regularly are ways to maintain good health. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle may have some impact on your risk of getting breast cancer, it cannot eliminate the risk.