A malignant tumor is made up of a group of cancer cells that spread to other parts of the body or invade surrounding tissues. Breast cancer is malignant tumor that begins in the cells of the breast. It mostly occurs in women but it is also possible for men to develop the disease.
The most common sign of breast cancer is a new mass or lump in the breast. When a mass is hard, painless and features irregular edges, it is likelier to be diagnosed as cancerous. However, lumps can still be soft, tender or rounded and be malignant. As masses or lumps are the most telling symptom of the disease, any new one has to be immediately checked by a doctor.
Other possible signs of breast cancer include: swelling of the entire or a part of the breast, dimpling or skin irritation, nipple or breast pain, nipple turning inward, thickening or scaliness of breast skin or nipple and nipple discharge. Sometimes the cancer can affect lymph nodes around the collar bone or under the arm so swollen lymph nodes in these areas must also be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.
Breast cancer can be detected once the signs appear but a lot of the time symptoms do not manifest so screening tests are recommended. When anything suspicious pops up during a screening test or breast cancer signs are present, doctors will carry out physical and imaging tests. Only a biopsy test, however, will be able to tell if an individual has breast cancer.
The sooner breast cancer is detected, the better the prognosis is, much like any other cancer type. Prognosis is also affected by the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. As the breast cancer goes up the stage, the lower the survival rate is for a patient.
General types of treatment for breast cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and bone-directed therapy. It may be possible for doctors though to prescribe treatment different from these general types.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer that afflicts women in the United States. In fact, one in every eight women in the country will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Invasive breast cancer is a type of breast cancer where the disease has spread from where it started, moving to surrounding tissues in the breast.
According to estimates by the American Cancer Society, in 2015, around 231, 840 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer while around 40, 290 will succumb to the disease.
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