Information About Breast Cancer

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Quick Breast Cancer Facts and Statistics

What causes breast cancer? Cancer happens when abnormal cells start to grow out of control. Breast cancer begins when these abnormal cells group into a tumor in the milk ducts or lobules of the breast. If the tumor cells stay in the ducts or lobules, they are called "in situ." If they grow into the normal breast tissue, they are called “invasive.”

Doctors believe that there will be 245,000 cases of invasive breast cancer and more than 61,000 cases of breast cancer in situ in the U.S. in 2016. An American woman has a 12% chance of getting breast cancer if she lives to 80 years old.

Cancer cells become "metastatic" if they spread to another part of the body, like the bones, liver, brain, or lungs. When these cells spread, they become more dangerous because they are hard to stop.

Breast cancer is a serious disease, but this is an exciting time in the search for new treatments and a cure. Current research confirms that breast cancer is not one disease but a spectrum of diseases with varying characteristics of the primary tumor that determine behavior. Identifying breast cancer by type (for instance, is the tumor sensitive to estrogen or expresses the Her 2 protein cancer gene?) is leading toward more sophisticated, smarter targeted therapies with less side effects for the patient.

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