This is cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.
Estimated new cases and deaths from breast cancer in the United States each year:
- New cases: 178,480 (female); 2,030 (male)
- Deaths: 40,460 (female); 450 (male)
Survival rates for breast cancer are getting better and better all the time as more people take advantage of early detection testing such as mammography and regular breast exams. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the survival rates. For women diagnosed in 2001 and 2002 with a Stage 0 or Stage 1 breast cancer, the 5-year survival rates are 93% and 88%. For women diagnosed now at these stages, the survival rates are even higher.* The key factor in surviving breast cancer is early detection.
*American Cancer Society
Common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A change in how the breast or nipple feels
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- Nipple tenderness
- A change in how the breast or nipple looks
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A nipple turned inward into the breast
- The skin of the breast, areola, or nipple may be scaly, red, or swollen. It may have ridges or pitting so that it looks like the skin of an orange.
- Nipple discharge (fluid)
Patients with breast cancer have many treatment options. These include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biological therapy. Many patients receive more than one type of treatment.