Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast start to grow out of control forming a tumor. It is the most common type of cancer in women, although it can also occur in men.

Breast cancer can occur in several parts of the breast, such as the ducts, the lobules or the tissue surrounding them. It can also occur in the fat and the connective tissue of the breast.


The signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Swelling in all or part of the breast
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast pain
  • Nipple discharge or the nipple turning inward
  • Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Changes in the size or shape of the breast.


There are several medical tests that can be used to diagnose breast cancer. Some of the most common tests include:

Breast exam: Your doctor will check both of your breasts and lymph nodes for any lumps or other abnormalities.

Mammogram: A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that can help to identify abnormalities in the breast tissue. It is commonly used to screen for breast cancer.

Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the breast tissue. It can be used to help determine whether a breast lump is solid or filled with fluid.

Biopsy: A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the breast and examined under a microscope. A biopsy sample is used to determine if the tumor is benign or cancerous, the type, the aggressiveness (grade) of the cancer, and whether the cancer cells have hormone receptors to help the physician choose the best treatment plan.

MRI: An MRI (magnetic resonance) imaging scan uses magnetic fields to create detailed images of breast tissue. It can be used to help diagnose breast cancer and to determine the extent of the cancer.

PET scan: A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a type of imaging test thatses a small amount of radioactive material to create detailed images of the inside of the body. It can be used to help determine whether breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body.


Treatment options for breast cancer depend on a variety of factors, including breast tissue volume, lump size and location. Common treatments include:

Breast Cancer Surgery

  • Mastectomy: A mastectomy is a type of surgery to remove one or both breasts. There are several different types of mastectomy, including total (simple) mastectomy, modified radical mastectomy, skin-sparing mastectomy and nipple-sparing mastectomy.
  • Breast conservative surgery (BCS): Breast-conserving surgery, also known as a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, is a type of surgery that removes cancerous tissue from the breast while preserving as much of the healthy breast tissue as possible.
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy: This is a surgical procedure used to determine whether cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes. The procedure is often performed as part of the treatment for breast cancer, as the lymph nodes in the underarm area are a common site for cancer cells to spread.
  • Axillary node dissection: This is a surgical procedure in which a surgeon removes lymph nodes from the underarm (axilla) region, if cancer cells are found in the sentinel lymph node biopsy.

Radiotherapy: This is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells in the breast and surrounding tissue, where the cancer is located.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses medications to destroy cancer cells. The medications are usually given into a vein or taken as a tablet. Having chemotherapy can reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back.

Targeted therapy: Medications like these identify and kill cancer cells based on their biological characteristics, such as medications that prevent cancer cells from growing by blocking the HER2 protein, if your cancer is HER2-positive.

Hormonal therapy: Most cancers that are estrogen-receptor positive (ER-positive) or progesterone receptor positive (PR positive) require hormonal therapy. Hormonal therapy lowers estrogen or progesterone levels or prevents it from attaching to cancer cells.

Immunotherapy: This uses the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments. This type of treatment might be an option if you have triple-negative breast cancer, which means that the cancer cells don't have receptors for estrogen, progesterone or HER2 as mentioned above.

Supportive (palliative) care : Palliative care consists of physicians, nurses and other professionals. It focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. It also provides support that complements patients' ongoing care to make them feel better and live longer.

Consultants and specialists

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