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Breast cancer


Tumors are cancerous or noncancerous growths that form when too many cells grow. When too many cancer cells grow in the breast area, a cancerous tumor can form. Women are more likely than men to get breast cancer.




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  • When too many cells grow in the breast area, a tumor forms.

  • A common way breast cancer is found is by someone feeling a lump that's not usually there. Breast exams are an important way to find breast lumps and find breast cancer early. It's common for someone to have no symptoms with breast cancer. 

    Regular breast exams raise your chances of finding breast cancer early. If breast cancer is found early and treated, it's more likely you'll heal and get better.

    Other breast cancer symptoms can include:

    • Swelling in the breast area
    • Dimples or skin changes like flakiness in the breast area
    • Pain in the breast or nipple area
    • Change in nipples that’s not normal
    • If a discharge or liquid that’s not normal comes out of the breast
    • Lymph nodes swelling 

    These symptoms can happen for other reasons besides cancer. If you have symptoms like those listed above, you should talk to your provider to find out the reason.

  • There are many ways your doctor may find breast cancer. Your doctor might do one or more of the following:

    • A physical exam
    • Ask about your family medical history as well as yours
    • An imaging test, like a mammogram (breast X-ray), breast MRI or breast ultrasound
    • A biopsy (taking a sample of tissue from your body and testing it) 

    USMD has a high-risk breast program for women who have greater chances of getting breast cancer. Learn more >

  • In the United States, breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer. Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women if they get it. 

    • Women are more likely to get breast cancer than men
    • Older people 
    • If you have a history of breast cancer or breast disease
    • If your family has a history of breast cancer 

    USMD has a high-risk breast program for women who have greater chances of getting breast cancer. Learn more >

     Learn more about what might cause a person to have a greater chance of getting breast cancer. 

  • There is no known way to stop someone from getting breast cancer. There are some things you can do to help lower your chances for getting it, such as:

    • Have a low-fat diet (eating plan)
    • Don't smoke
    • Don't drink alcohol
    • Watch your body weight and get exercise

    If you're someone with a greater chance of getting breast cancer, your doctor may suggest that you have surgery to remove one or both breasts before you get cancer. Talk to your doctor about other ways you may stop breast cancer and what the right path is for you.

  • How we care for breast cancer depends on many factors: 

    • Type of cancer
    • Size of the cancer
    • Where the cancer is located in the body 
    • Stage of cancer 

    Your doctor will work with you to find the right care plan for you. Some examples of treatment include:

    • Surgery to remove cancer 
    • Chemotherapy (using medication to make the cancer smaller or to kill cancer cells)
    • Radiation (using X-rays to kill cancer cells)  
    • Targeted therapy (using drugs to stop cancer cells from growing and spreading)
    • Hormone therapy (using hormones which are natural chemicals in the body that help it work or medications that block hormones to kill cancer cells)
    • Immunotherapy (using the body’s immune system that naturally fights illness)

    Learn more about nonsurgical and surgical treatment options.

  •  Our high-risk breast program offers specialized care for patients with greater chances of having breast disease or breast cancer.

    Learn more >