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Breast Cancer


hat causes breast cancer?

We do not know what causes any cancer, let alone breast cancer. We know of some situations or actions that appear to raise the RISK of developing breast cancer, but until the critical detail is known that causes the body's normal cells to start multiplying at a very dramatic rate, we will not know what causes breast cancer. We cover some of those risks in Suspected Causes.

How old do you have to be to receive breast cancer?

Some children are born with cancer. Breast cancer does not usually show up until later, and the older a person gets, the greater their risk is of developing cancer. Everyone should remain aware of any changes in or on their body and have them checked by their personal health car provider.

Can breast cancer be removed?

A malignant breast tumor may be removed by taking the immediate area that surrounds the mass (lumpectomy) or it might be removed by taking the complete breast (mastectomy). If the cancer cells have not spread throughout the body, or at least to another organ, you should be able to call yourself a "survivor". Some people will only accept that they are surviving cancer, and it is never "gone". Others call that stage "remission". The earlier it is discovered, and the quicker it is removed, the better chance you have of that cancer not returning.

How does breast cancer spread?

When a malignant mass reaches some critical point in its growth it gives off cells that will be carried either in the blood or in the lymphatic system to other places in the body, where they will become established and cause new tumors to startup.

How does breast cancer kill people?

When a malignant tumor increases in size, it compromises the organ in which it is growing. When more and more tumors start up in that organ, the organ fails and the body will not survive. Cancers can affect the pancreas, liver, brain, lungs, bone marrow, etc. These are all critical to our survival, and if they fail, we generally will too.

Can guys get breast cancer?

Yes. Men have breasts, so they can get breast cancer. Nearly 1300 men in the US got breast cancer last year, and about 350 died from it. Men should be on the lookout for it as well as women.

Is there any way to prevent breast cancer early?

About the only things that you can do to prevent cancer early is to try to avoid those suspected causes (that we know about and that you may have any control over), pay close attention to any danger signs that we know about at this time, and be good about having any diagnostic procedures done that we are offered (BSE, TSE, DRE, Mammograms, skin examinations, etc.).

What kind of woman has more chance to get breast cancer?

Take a look at the Suspected Causes section, where we list the characteristics that a person needs to be aware of.

How do you know if you have breast cancer or not besides having it checked by a doctor?

Until an actual piece of a suspected tissue (mass) is physically biopsied in a lab, NO ONE knows if you have breast cancer. Without that biopsy, everything is nothing more than a guess.

How common is breast cancer? 1/10? 1/100?

If a woman lives in the US to the age of 95, she will have a chance of approximately one out of 9 (1/9) that she will have breast cancer.

Why is it "cancers of the breast"? Are there more than one type of cancer of the breast?

Lobular carcinoma in situ, Ductal carcinoma in situ, Inflammatory breast cancer, Paget's Disease of the breast, Cystosarcoma Phylloides, etc. are a few of the types of cancer of the breast.

Does breast cancer hurt?

Sometimes. If something new has shown up in your breast, DO NOT WAIT FOR IT TO HURT! Have it checked out immediately. Malignant tumors do not always hurt, and some things that hurt are not malignant tumors.

Are cancers inherited or are they influenced by outside sources/factors, such as diet and lifestyle?

Yes, both of those are thought to be true. Take a look at Suspected Causes for some answers to your questions.

Is it true that women who give birth are less prone to developing breast cancer than those who never have a baby?

That has been shown to be true, if the birth of the child occurred before the mother reached the age of thirty years.

Do women with bigger breasts have a higher chance of getting breast cancer?

No. When someone is generally overweight, the excess body fat can be a higher risk for developing cancers of any type, including breast cancer.

What size of lumps in the breast can lead to death if not reported?

ANY SIZE, if it is not detected early enough and removed.

What is the survival of breast cancer patients with today's technology?

If breast cancer is discovered early, during what is referred to as its Stage I or Stage II phases, and it is removed surgically, and radiation and/or other adjuvant therapy (chemo, Tamoxifen, etc.) is done, survival rates are around 97 percent. The person's individual circumstances, body condition, immune system, the TYPE of breast cancer, and the timing and the sequence of the medications and chemicals that are used may all affect the survival rate of the individual.