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Prevea Health

What is breast cancer?

 
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We’ve all heard it…breast cancer. And, you likely know someone who’s been diagnosed. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer. And, did you know that men can get it too?

Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast begin to grow abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. Cells may spread through the breast to lymph nodes or to other parts of the body.

Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts. Breast cancer may also begin in the glandular tissue, called lobules, or in other cells or tissue within the breast.

Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer. But it's not clear why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet other people with risk factors never do. It's likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of a person’s genetic makeup and environment.

Luckily we have a screening test, mammogram, to help detect breast cancer in the early stages, possibly before it has spread to other parts of the body. If you are over the age of 40, talk to your provider about when is the right time to begin screening.
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