Breast cancer develops in the cells within the breast. Cells can become altered and behave abnormally or no longer grow. Often, this can lead to non-cancerous (benign) tumors, such as cysts; however, sometimes the changes to the cells can cause breast cancer. Breast cancer often develops in the cells that line ducts, which are tubes in the breasts that carry milk to the nipple from the glands. Breast cancer can develop in both men and women, but more commonly develops in women.
You should immediately contact your doctor if you notice an unusual lump or changes to your breast. Some other symptoms and signs to look for include:
A thickening breast lump that feels strange compared to surrounding breast tissue
Change in size, shape and overall appearance of your breast
Changes to the skin on the breast area, such as dimpling
An inverted nipple
Peeling, scaling, flaking and crusting of the pigmented skin near the areola or the breast skin
Redness or pitting of the skin over the breast (like an orange peel)
Once your doctor assesses the area, they may diagnose breast cancer through a breast exam, mammogram, breast ultrasound, biopsy (removing the cells for testing) or MRI. The doctor will determine treatment based on the type of breast cancer, its stage and grade, size and whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones.
Most women will undergo breast cancer surgery and may then receive additional treatment – chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or radiation.
There are many options for breast cancer treatment and the doctor will discuss them with you in order to make the best decision.
Notice: The above information is an educational aid only. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.