Breast cancer is a cancer that starts in the tissues of the breast.
There are two main types of breast cancer:
•Ductal carcinoma starts in the tubes (ducts) that move milk from the breast to the nipple. Most breast cancers are of this type.
•Lobular carcinoma starts in parts of the breast, called lobules, that produce milk.
In rare cases, breast cancer can start in other areas of the breast.
Many breast cancers are sensitive to the hormone estrogen. This means that estrogen causes the breast cancer tumor to grow. Such cancer is called estrogen receptor positive cancer or ER positive cancer.
Early breast cancer usually does not cause symptoms. This is why regular breast exams are important. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include:
•Breast lump or lump in the armpit that is hard, has uneven edges, and usually does not hurt
•Change in the size, shape, or feel of the breast or nipple -- for example, you may have redness, dimpling, or puckering that looks like the skin of an orange
•Fluid coming from the nipple -- may be bloody, clear to yellow, green, and look like pus
Men get breast cancer, too. Symptoms include breast lump and breast pain and tenderness.
There also are things you can do to find breast cancer early. Breast cancer screening looks for signs of cancer before a woman has symptoms. Screening can help find breast cancer early when it’s most treatable. Two tests are commonly used to screen for breast cancer:
Regular screening is the best way to find breast cancer early in most women. If you are at higher risk you may need mammograms at an earlier age or more often. Or, your doctor might want to use other tests too. Let your doctor know if you find a change in your breast, such as a lump or nipple discharge that isn’t breast milk.
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