Breast cancer is a disease in which cancerous (or malignant) cells develop uncontrollably in the breast tissue.

It is the most common type of cancer seen in women and the leading cause of death.

Lobules are the glands that produce milk, and ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple. 

Cancer can also occur in the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within your breast.


It is often classified into two types: non-invasive and invasive.

Non-invasive or in situ carcinoma is located in the breasts of the breast.

It can not be detected at the palpation of the breast but in a mammogram.

Invasive extends beyond the breast.

The most common form is invasive ductal breast cancer, which develops in the cells of the ducts.

Breast cancer symptoms

In its early stages, it may not cause any symptoms.

In many cases, a tumor may be too small to be felt, but an abnormality can still be seen on a mammogram.

If a tumor can be felt, the first sign is usually a new lump in the breast that was not there before. However, not all lumps are cancer.

Many of these symptoms are similar, but some can be different. Symptoms for the most common symptoms include:

  • a breast lump or tissue thickening that feels different than surrounding tissue and has developed recently
  • breast pain
  • red, pitted skin over your entire breast
  • swelling in all or part of your breast
  • nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • bloody discharge from your nipple
  • peeling, scaling, or flaking of skin on your nipple or breast
  • a sudden, unexplained change in the shape or size of your breast
  • inverted nipple
  • changes to the appearance of the skin on your breasts
  • a lump or swelling under your arm

Risk factors

  • Age. Your risk for developing breast cancer increases as you age. Most invasive breast cancers are found in women over age 55.
  • Having dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue makes mammograms hard to read. It also increases your risk of breast cancer.
  • Early menstruation. If you had your first period before age 12, you have an increased risk for breast cancer.
  • Late menopause start. Women who do not start menopause until after age 55 are more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Never being pregnant. Women who never became pregnant or never carried a pregnancy to full term are more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Drinking alcohol. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol raises your risk.

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