Breast cancer symptoms vary from person to person. Some people have no symptoms. The first sign of breast cancer for many women often turns out to be an area of thickened tissue that feels different from the surrounding tissue.
Breast Cancer – Breast Cancer Symptoms and Common Treatment Guidelines – 2022
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women worldwide. It usually develops due to a combination of factors, including genetics and lifestyle.
Breast cancer is not contagious or infectious, and you cannot “catch” breast cancer from another person.
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women and the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. It develops in one or both breasts, usually in the cells that line the milk ducts (ductal carcinoma) or the milk glands (lobular carcinoma).
Although breast cancer can occur in men, it is much more common in women, especially after menopause. Early detection through screening mammograms and prompt treatment are important for improving survival rates.
Breast cancer symptoms vary from person to person. Some people have no symptoms. The first sign of breast cancer for many women often turns out to be an area of thickened tissue that feels different from the surrounding tissue. A painless lump or thickening is a common symptom of breast cancer.
Some forms of breast cancer are more aggressive than others. You may have heard that some types of breast cancer are called triple-negative or HER2-positive. These terms refer to proteins, or biomarkers, that are found in or on some breast cancer cells:
HER2, which stands for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, is a protein on the surface of some breast cancer cells. About 1 in 5 invasive breast cancers are HER2-positive. These cancers tend to grow faster than other types of breast cancer. But they also respond well to targeted therapies, such as trastuzumab (Herceptin) and pertuzumab (Perjeta).
Triple-negative breast cancers lack estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2 receptors. This type of breast cancer tends to be more aggressive than other types and is more common in younger women and African American women. Triple-negative breast cancers can be difficult to treat because standard hormone therapies aren’t effective against them.
Breast cancer can be invasive or noninvasive. If it’s invasive, the tumor has broken through the wall of the duct or lobule into surrounding breast tissue. The tumor can then spread to other parts of the body through blood vessels and lymph vessels. Noninvasive breast tumors don’t penetrate nearby tissue and don’t spread elsewhere in your body.
Many different factors can influence whether you get breast cancer. Some risk factors, such as being female and aging, are unavoidable. Others can be controlled, such as drinking less alcohol and losing weight if you’re overweight or obese.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, and rounded. For this reason it is important to have any new breast mass or lump checked by a doctor.
Not all lumps are cancerous. Fibrocystic breasts can have lumpy areas that feel like rope or gristle. Breast cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs inside the breast tissue, are also common in women over age 30 and can also cause lumps to form. However, if you discover a new lump in your breast you should get it checked by your doctor as soon as possible.
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