Williams Cancer Institute

A Simple Guide to Understanding Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

A Simple Guide to Understanding Breast Cancer

Have you or a loved one previously been diagnosed with breast cancer?

Are you currently struggling on learning how to support your loved one through this battle?

If so, you have reached a great place where you will receive information that will assist you throughout this journey. Breast cancer is a type of cancer that mostly affects women. It is most common to see breast cancer in women the age 50 years and older. This does not mean it will not affect women of younger age. 

Many factors can increase the risk of breast cancer such as:

-Family history of breast cancer

-Having dense breast

-Genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2

Breast cancer can start at many different places throughout the breast. The most common one is ductal cancer which affects the ducts in the breast that carry milk to the nipple. Another place is in the glands of the breast which make breast milk. If cancer stays local there could possibly be less harm to the body. Unfortunately, there is a vast connection of lymph nodes in and around the breast that can be affected by these cancer cells. In some cases, the cancer cells travel into the lymphatic cells or the blood and this can potentially cause cancer to metastasize. This is why it is more promising to treat breast cancer at its earlier stages because there is less probability that the cancer cells have spread to the rest of the body. 

Once screened, the physician will diagnose the patient with one of the two types of breast cancer: ductal carcinoma in situ or invasive breast cancer. The next blog will further go in depth to explain the difference between the two. Your doctor may use an MRI for the breast, a mammogram, or an ultrasound to diagnose breast cancer. Sometimes, multiple scans are necessary in order to rule out any confusion. Afterward, a process called staging is usually performed to detect what stage the cancer is at and whether it has spread to other parts of the breast area. 

As noted, breast cancer can be very complex if it’s not broken down into simple steps. It’s a sensitive conversation to have especially with all the fear. Coming up in the next blog, the main topic will be the two most common types of breast cancer. 

Refenrece: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,20 Sep. 2021,“What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer?” ,  https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/risk_factors.htm

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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