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As result of a recent international study, scientists have determined that the disease known as breast cancer is actually too broad of a term. Researchers have been able to detect at least 10 individual diseases that fall under the umbrella of breast cancer. This new discovery could allow for new, more specific treatment options for breast cancer as a whole.
Cancer develops when the normal cells of the body divide and grow abnormally or out of control. This uncontrollable growth produces an accumulation of cells which then form a tumor. If this mass of cells fails to function like normal cells, then the tumor is considered cancerous. While there is no clear-cut cause for breast cancer, there are several risk factors associated with the disease that increase your chances of developing it. These risk factors include: genetic factors, a personal or family history of breast cancer, a person’s age, diet and overall health.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women following skin cancer. It is estimated that 1 out of every 8 women will be told that they have breast cancer at some point in her life, which means 12% of women will get breast cancer. Following lung cancer, breast cancer is listed as the second leading cause of death among women. The American Cancer Society approximates more than 225, 000 American women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and nearly 40,000 will die from the disease.
Approximately 5 to 10% of breast cancer cases are linked to genetic predisposition, all other occurrences of breast cancer are random. Cancers get specific names for the part of the body that they have originated in; cancer that originates in breast tissue is called breast cancer. Cancer can spread from it’s origin to other areas of the body. This process is called metastasis.
Breast Cancer symptoms can vary greatly and many types of breast cancer produce no obvious symptoms; other types may not cause symptoms right away. Often times, an abnormality may be seen on an x-ray or mammogram or a person may feel a lump or mass in or around the breast. Symptoms of breast cancer may include:
A lump or thick feeling in the breast or near the underarm that is not related to a menstrual cycle, a small lump, a notable difference in the appearance of the breast’s size or shape, a blood tinged or clear discharge from the nipples, a change in the texture or appearance of the areola, red skin appearance on the breast or nipple, a difference in the shape or posture of the nipple, a hardened round spot under the skin of the breast, any noticeable difference in appearance of either breast.
A lump in the breast is not the only symptom of breast cancer, and many breast lumps are not cancerous at all. Talk with your doctor for recommended breast cancer screenings and self-exams.