Breast Cancer: Introduction
Breast cancer is a malignant disease that occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the breast. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Less frequently breast cancer can also occur in men.
Normally, cells in the breast that are old or damaged will stop dividing and die before they can become cancerous. These cells replaced by healthy young cells. Breast cancer occurs when a genetic mutation causes old or damaged cells to continue to divide and multiply uncontrollably. This results in the development of a malignant tumor in the breast.
Left untreated, breast cancer cells can continue to multiply, spread to other parts of the body, and interfere with more of the body's vital processes. Breast cancer can be fatal, especially if untreated, and is one of the leading cancer killers in women. However, if diagnosed and treated in an early stage of development, breast cancer is curable in many cases.
Breast cancer is more common in Caucasian women than in African-American women. Risk factors for breast cancer include being over 50 years of age and having a personal history of breast cancer or a family history of breast cancer. Other risk factors include taking drugs that contain the hormone estrogen, beginning menstruation before age 12, going through menopause after age 55, and having a first child after age 30. Women with certain genetic changes in the genes called BRACA1 and BRCA2 are also at a higher risk for developing breast cancer. In addition, if the breasts are exposed to high doses of radiation, such as during radiation therapy, there is an increased risk of breast cancer.
Symptoms of breast cancer include a breast lump. However, a breast lump may be so small that it is not felt in early stages of the diseases. For additional symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of breast cancer.
Diagnosing breast cancer begins with taking a medical and sexual history and completing a physical and breast examination.
Screening tests include imaging tests, such as a mammogram, a special X-ray of the breasts. An ultrasound using sound wave technology may also be done to help determine if a breast lump is or a hard solid mass, which may indicate a cancerous tumor.
Diagnostic tests also include a biopsy of the breast lump. A biopsy involves taking a sample of the breast lump to examine under a microscope for breast cancer cells.
If a breast lump is found to be cancerous, further testing is generally performed. Imaging tests may include MRI and PET scan, which can help to show if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as to the lymph nodes. A lymph node biopsy is generally done if metastasis to the lymphatic system is suspected. Other diagnostic tests performed for breast cancer include hormone tests.
A diagnosis of breast cancer can easily be delayed or missed because a breast lump may be too small to feel or see on a mammogram, may not be painful, and might be ignored, and for other reasons. In addition, some symptoms of breast cancer can resemble symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis and diseases and conditions that can mimic breast cancer, refer to misdiagnosis of breast cancer.
Treatment of breast cancer varies, depending on the individual case and the type and stage of the cancer. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. For more information on treatments, refer to treatment of breast cancer. ...more »
Breast cancer is the second leading malpractice-related condition
with most lawsuits arising out of misdiagnosis and delayed treatment.
One problem is that a mammogram may be negative, even for women with
a breast lump, but a negative mammogram does not definitively rule out breast cancer.
Further tests are necessary.
Another problem is that women under 50 can get breast cancer,
but many doctors will assume a diagnosis of breast fibrocystic disease
because of their age. ...more »
Breast Cancer: Symptoms
The hallmark symptom of breast cancer is a breast lump. However, malignant breast lumps may be small or hard to detect at an early stage of breast cancer. A breast lump that is malignant is often not painful, but pain can occur in some cases.
There are also other less serious causes of breast lumps, but any breast lump should be quickly evaluated medically because of the risk of ...more symptoms »
Breast Cancer: Treatments
There is no way to prevent breast cancer. However, there are ways to increase the chances that it will be caught at an early stage when it is most curable. This includes performing monthly breast self-examination to check for breast lumps. It is also important to seek regular medical care even when there are no symptoms and to have regular screening mammograms, especially after ...more treatments »
Breast Cancer: Misdiagnosis
Diagnosing a breast lump and breast cancer may be delayed or missed because in some cases, a breast lump may not be painful or large enough for a person to become concerned and seek medical care. In addition, small breast lumps may not be felt by self-examination or a breast examination for long periods of time. Some breast lumps may not be easily seen on a screening mammogram.
A ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
See full list of 32
symptoms of Breast Cancer
Treatments for Breast Cancer
See full list of 27
treatments for Breast Cancer
Home Diagnostic Testing
Home medical testing related to Breast Cancer:
- Colon & Rectal Cancer: Home Testing
- Menopause: Related Home Testing:
Wrongly Diagnosed with Breast Cancer?
Breast Cancer: Related Patient Stories
Breast Cancer: Deaths
Read more about Deaths and Breast Cancer.
Alternative Treatments for Breast Cancer
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Breast Cancer may include:
Types of Breast Cancer
- Breast carcinoma
- Breast sarcoma (type of Sarcoma)
- Paget's Disease
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) - a benign tumor; often called "Stage 0 breast cancer".
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) - also called "intraductal carcinoma"; also sometimes called "Stage 0 breast cancer".
- more types...»
See full list of 16
Types of Breast Cancer
Curable Types of Breast Cancer
Possibly curable types of Breast Cancer include:
Rare Types of Breast Cancer:
Rare types of Breast Cancer include:
Diagnostic Tests for Breast Cancer
- Self breast examination
- Clinical breast examination
- Screening mammogram
- Diagnostic mammograms - more detailed mammograms than the basic screening.
- more tests...»
See full list of 16
diagnostic tests for Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer: Complications
Read more about complications of Breast Cancer.
Causes of Breast Cancer
- The cancer can return at the original site. This is called a local recurrence
- The cancer can recur nearby, such as in the chest. This is called a regional recurrence
- The cancer can spread to a distant location in the body, such as lymph nodes, bone marrow, or lungs. This is called a distant recurrence, or a metastasis
- more causes...»
Read more about causes of Breast Cancer
More information about causes of Breast Cancer:
Disease Topics Related To Breast Cancer
Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Breast Cancer:
Breast Cancer: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:
Misdiagnosis and Breast Cancer
Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease
is often over-diagnosed.
Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or...read more »
Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for
a patient to show mental decline to dementia.
Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions,
such as a stroke or ...read more »
Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form
of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer.
Its symptoms can be an inflammation of the breast tissue, such as with a breast rash
with redness...read more »
Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that
any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease.
The reality is that there are...read more »
Spitz nevi misdiagnosed as dangerous melanoma skin cancer: One possible misdiagnosis to
consider in lieu of melanoma is spitz nevi.
See melanoma and spitz nevi....read more »
Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic
disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's.
The...read more »
Read more about Misdiagnosis and Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer: Research Doctors & Specialists
Research related physicians and medical specialists:
- Pregnancy & Fertility Health Specialists:
- Womens Health Specialists:
- Cancer Specialists:
- Senior Health Specialists (Geriatrics):
- more specialists...»
Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:
Hospitals & Clinics: Breast Cancer
Research quality ratings and patient safety measures
for medical facilities in specialties related to Breast Cancer:
Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »
Choosing the Best Hospital:
More general information, not necessarily in relation to Breast Cancer,
on hospital performance and surgical care quality:
Breast Cancer: Rare Types
Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:
Latest Treatments for Breast Cancer
See full list of 11
latest treatments for Breast Cancer
Evidence Based Medicine Research for Breast Cancer
Medical research articles related to Breast Cancer include:
Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database
Prognosis for Breast Cancer
Prognosis for Breast Cancer:
Depends on severity. Early detection has good chances.
More about prognosis of Breast Cancer
Research about Breast Cancer
Visit our research pages for current research about Breast Cancer treatments.
Clinical Trials for Breast Cancer
The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally
and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.
Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Breast Cancer include:
See full list of 1371
Clinical Trials for Breast Cancer
Prevention of Breast Cancer
Prevention information for Breast Cancer has been compiled from various data sources
and may be inaccurate or incomplete.
None of these methods guarantee prevention of Breast Cancer.
- Prevention of severe breast cancer via early detection:
- Mammography screening
- Regular breast self-exams
- Regular breast self-exams - 70% of cases are self-detected.
- Regular mammogram screening
- more preventions...»
Read more about prevention of Breast Cancer
Statistics for Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer: Broader Related Topics
Types of Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Message Boards
Related forums and medical stories:
User Interactive Forums
Read about other experiences, ask a question about Breast Cancer, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:
Definitions of Breast Cancer:
A breast neoplasm with metastatic potential arising from the breast parenchyma or the nipple. The most common are breast carcinomas. Malignant breast neoplasms occur more frequently in females than in males. -- 2003
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Cancer of the breast; one of the most common malignancies in women in the US
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
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