What is Breast Cancer?

Some people are surprised to learn that breast cancer 乳癌治療 can affect men as well as women. Male breast cancer is rather rare, but it does happen. It usually develops in the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk).

When cancer cells spread (metastasize), they are usually found in the lymph nodes that are near the breast. But they spread to almost any other part of the body.

The most common sites that this disease spreads to are the bones, liver, lungs, and brain. Tumors that form in other organs have the same kind of cells and the same name as the original tumor. That is, if it spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are really breast cancer cells. The disease is “metastatic”, not bone cancer, and these cancers are treated as though they were breast cancer. Doctors sometimes call the new tumor “distant” or metastatic disease.

It, however, is not contagious, and it is not caused by bumping, bruising, or touching the breast. Doctors and researchers don’t know why one woman will develop the disease and another will not. But doctors and researchers do agree that women with greater “risk factors” are more likely to contract the disease.

Risk factors associated with developing this disease are:

Age: Most breast cancer is diagnosed in women over the age of 60. That isn’t to say that younger women WON’T develop the disease. They certainly can and do.

Menopause: More cases are diagnosed in women who have reached or past menopause.

Family History: The risk of developing the disease is greatly increased if the woman’s mother, sister, or daughter has had breast cancer. The risk goes even higher if the female relative contracted it before the age of 40.

Race: White women are more at risk for developing it than Latina, Asian, or African American women.

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