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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 »
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 »
Home medical tests possibly related to Breast cancer:
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Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Breast cancer, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
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 ...Breast cancer Treatments
Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Breast cancer may include:
Review further information on Breast cancer Treatments.
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Breast cancer may include:
Real-life user stories relating to Breast cancer:
The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible
causes of Breast cancer as a symptom.
Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using,
including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Breast cancer as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Breast cancer may include these symptoms:
Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:
Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:
Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Breast cancer:
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Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Breast cancer:
Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:
Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:
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)
Cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.
- (Source - National Cancer Institute)
The list below shows some of the causes of Breast cancer mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Breast cancer. Of the 3 causes of Breast cancer that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Breast cancer' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Breast cancer or choose View All.
The following list of medical conditions have Breast cancer or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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Medical Conditions associated with Breast cancer:
Symptoms related to Breast cancer:
Breast lump (64 causes), Breast infection (5 causes), Mastitis, Breast symptoms (240 causes), Breast pain (77 causes), Nipple symptoms (123 causes), Nipple pain (11 causes), Cowden's syndrome, Breast fibrocystic disease, Hodgkin's Disease, Klinefelter syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome, Alcohol and Oral contraceptive interaction, Alcohol and Hormone Replacement Therapy, Synthetic Conjugated Estrogen and Progestin interaction
Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:
These general medical articles may be of interest:
Medical research papers related to Breast cancer include:
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