Friday, October 2, 2009


Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include:
  • A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple
  • Change in the size or shape of a breast
  • Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
  • Inverted nipple
  • Peeling or flaking of the nipple skin
  • Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange
  • When to see a doctor
  • If you find a lump or other change in your breast — even if a recent mammogram was normal — make an appointment with your doctor.
It's not clear what causes breast cancer. Doctors know that breast cancer occurs when some breast cells begin growing abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do. The accumulating cells form a tumor that may spread (metastasize) through your breast, to your lymph nodes or to other parts of your body.

Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts. Doctors call this type of breast cancer invasive ductal carcinoma. Breast cancer may also begin in the lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or cells within the breast.
Doctors estimate that 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to gene mutation passed through generations of a family. A number of inherited defective genes that can increase the likelihood of breast cancer have been identified. The most common are breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2), both of which increase the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.

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