• About Breast Cancer

    One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. While it occurs almost entirely in women, breast cancer can also develop in men.

    A woman's breast tissue changes throughout her lifetime. At some point, many will be diagnosed with a noncancerous (also known as benign or noninvasive) condition, such as:

  • The most common benign tumors found in the female breast, fibroadenomas are round, rubbery lumps that move freely when pushed. They’re the result of excess milk-producing glands and connective tissue in the breast and are usually painless. These tumors occur most often between ages 20 to 40 and are more common in African-American women.

    Changes in hormone balances during your menstrual cycles can create benign, tiny, fluid-filled sacs that feel like lumps. They become tender and enlarged the week before a menstrual period.

    Fibrocystic changes also can appear as thickening of your breast tissue. These changes can occur in one or both breasts and most commonly occur in women ages 35 to 50.

    These small, wart-like growths are in the lining of your mammary duct near the nipple. They usually affect women 40 to 50 years old and can produce bleeding or other discharge from the nipple.

    Painless lumps may occur as the result of trauma to the breast like injury or surgery.  

  • Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control, forming tumors. Tumors can be benign or cancerous (also known as malignant or invasive) if they invade your surrounding tissues and organs or spread (metastasize) to other areas of your body. The types of invasive breast cancers include:

  • IBC is a rare form of invasive breast cancer. There is usually no lump or tumor. In its early stages, IBC is often mistaken for a breast infection called mastitis.

    IDC begins in the lining and then spreads beyond the walls of the breast ducts. It’s the most common form of invasive breast cancer.

    ILC starts in the milk-producing glands (lobules) and spreads outside them.

    Metaplastic breast cancer is a rare type of invasive breast cancer that accounts for less than 1 percent of breast cancers. In this type of breast cancer, the cancer cells change from one cancer type into another.

    Paget disease begins in the glands under your skin. It grows slowly and causes symptoms that are like an infection (itching and flaking skin).