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. Rarely, men can also develop breast cancer. Lifestyle factors and reproductive factors play a vital role in the development of breast cancer.
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.
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. Self-breast examination, mammograms, biopsies, blood tests and imaging studies can be ordered by your doctor to detect and monitor breast cancer. Screening mammograms aid in the detection of breast cancer in its early stage, when it is likely to be most easily and successfully treated.
Breast cancer is generally treated with a combination of surgery, hormone therapy (blocks some hormones), radiation therapy (use of high-energy rays) and chemotherapy (use of certain drugs). Deciding on the appropriate type of treatment will depend on the stage of cancer, type of cancer and its long-term benefits.