If you’ve noticed changes to your breasts and you’re over 70, tell your doctor. Chances are it’s nothing serious, but you’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting it checked out. Call your GP today.
What is cancer? There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment. Cancer and cell types Cancers are grouped into types. Types of cancer often behave and respond to treatments in different ways. The breasts Breasts are made of fat, supportive (connective tissue) and glandular tissue that contains lobes (milk glands). Types of breast cancer Your doctor will talk to you about which type of breast cancer you have. Signs and symptoms of breast cancer A lump in the breast is the most common symptom of breast cancer, but there are others to watch for. Why do cancers come back? Sometimes, tiny cancer cells are left behind after cancer treatment. These can divide to form a new tumour. Living with breast cancer Karen talks about her experience of living with breast cancer and how it affected her finances. About our cancer information videos Living with breast cancer Karen talks about her experience of living with breast cancer and how it affected her finances. About our cancer information videos
Symptoms Find out about the symptoms of breast cancer and when to see your doctor. SurvivalSurvival is generally good for breast cancer and is continuing to improve. Risks and causesRead about the factors that can increase or reduce your risk of breast cancer. Stages, types and gradesInformation about number and TNM staging and the grades and types of breast cancer. Getting diagnosedFind out about seeing your GP, referral to a specialist and the tests you might have. Screening for breast cancerRead about screening for breast cancer. TreatmentYour treatment depends on where your cancer is, how big it is, whether it has spread anywhere else in your body and your general health. Research and clinical trialsFind out about the latest UK research, clinical trials and how you can take part. Living with breast cancerWhat you can do to cope with breast cancer, its treatments, and the effect it has on your life and relationships. Advanced cancerAdvanced breast cancer means that a cancer that began in the breast has spread to another part of the body.
Breast cancer statistics Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with over 50,000 women and around 350 men diagnosed each year. Around five out of six women.. Breast cancer statistics breastcancernow.org How many people develop breast cancer? 115 likes, 1 comments ⋅ 11 hours ago
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK – one in eight women develop the disease at some stage in their lifetime. Breast cancer is rare in men, with around 400 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK, compared with around 50,000 new cases in women. Scientists estimate that about two in five breast cancer cases in the UK could be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and not drinking alcohol – that’s about 20,000 fewer cases a year. Only three per cent of breast cancer cases are in women who carry genes that have been linked to the disease. Many of the factors that increase your chances of developing the disease are linked to your lifestyle. What is breast cancer? Breasts are made up of fatty connective tissue, milk-producing glands and ducts that carry milk from the glands to the nipple. Breast tissue naturally develops in response to hormones at different stages of life – for example, during puberty, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Breast cancers almost always develop in the glands or ducts that produce milk and carry it to the nipple. Cancers develop as a result of cells being damaged, which then grow uncontrollably, forming a lump or thickening called a tumour. There are many different reasons why breast cancers develop, and hormones (particularly oestrogen) can influence the development and growth of some breast cancers. This means that life events that affect your hormone levels, such as pregnancy, can alter your cancer risk. There are also important risk factors that you can do something about, such as your diet and lifestyle choices. Who is most at risk of breast cancer? As with all cancers, the risk of developing breast cancer depends on a number of factors and varies from person to person. Lifestyle risk factors Drinking alcohol Being overweight or obese (for post-menopausal breast cancer only) Not doing enough physical activity Not breastfeeding when you have a baby Other risk factors Age – your risk increases as you get older Starting your period early (before age 12) Going through menopause late (over age 55) Not having children, or having a first pregnancy over the age of 30 Family history – particularly if a close relative was diagnosed before the age of 50. If you are concerned about this, we recommend you speak to your doctor Taking combined hormone replacement therapy (the evidence is less clear for oestrogen-only HRT) – risk slightly increases the longer you take HRT, but decreases gradually once you stop Taking the oral contraceptive pill (the evidence is less clear for the mini pill) – risk slightly increases when you take the pill, but slowly returns to normal after you stop If any of these apply to you, it does not mean that you will develop breast cancer – it just means that your risk may be higher than average. The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. Our Head of Health Information talks to Le M Show about breast cancer prevention Le M Show is a monthly programme on French Radio London. How can you reduce your risk of breast cancer? These steps are based on research from our Continuous Update Project (CUP). Cut down on alcohol There is strong evidence that drinking alcohol increases breast cancer risk. In fact, one in five breast cancers could be prevented if we didn’t drink alcohol. Find out more about the link between alcohol and cancer or find out how many calories are in alcoholic drinks by using our alcohol calorie calculator. Be a healthy weight Being a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to help protect against breast cancer – 1 in 6 breast cancer cases could be prevented if everyone was a healthy weight. Try our Body Mass Index calculator to see if you are a healthy weight for your height. Be more active Every type of activity counts, and the more you do the better. Try our exercise calorie calculator for more ideas. If you can, breastfeed your baby Breastfeeding is good for your baby’s health and it can also help protect you against breast cancer. Find out more about our breastfeeding for cancer prevention recommendation. What about screening? The good news is that most breast cancer cases can be successfully treated if they are detected early – that’s why it is important to attend breast screening whenever you are invited. Visit NHS Choices to find out about breast cancer screening, symptoms and treatment.
Diagnosing new cancer in a pregnant woman is difficult, in part because any symptoms are commonly assumed to be a normal discomfort associated with pregnancy. As a result, cancer is typically discovered at a somewhat later stage than average in many pregnant or recently pregnant women. Some imaging procedures, such as MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), CT scans, ultrasounds, and mammograms with fetal shielding are considered safe during pregnancy; some others, such as PET scans are not.
There are many different reasons why breast cancers develop, and hormones (particularly oestrogen) can influence the development and growth of some breast cancers. This means that life events that affect your hormone levels, such as pregnancy, can alter your cancer risk.
The oldest evidence of breast cancer was discovered in Egypt in 2015 and dates back to the Sixth Dynasty. The study of a woman’s remains from the necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa showed the typical destructive damage due to metastatic spread. The Edwin Smith Papyrus describes 8 cases of tumors or ulcers of the breast that were treated by cauterization. The writing says about the disease, “There is no treatment.” For centuries, physicians described similar cases in their practices, with the same conclusion. Ancient medicine, from the time of the Greeks through the 17th century, was based on humoralism, and thus believed that breast cancer was generally caused by imbalances in the fundamental fluids that controlled the body, especially an excess of black bile. Alternatively, patients often saw it as divine punishment. In the 18th century, a wide variety of medical explanations were proposed, including a lack of sexual activity, too much sexual activity, physical injuries to the breast, curdled breast milk, and various forms of lymphatic blockages, either internal or due to restrictive clothing. In the 19th century, the Scottish surgeon John Rodman said that fear of cancer caused cancer, and that this anxiety, learned by example from the mother, accounted for breast cancer’s tendency to run in families.
Although I suspected cancer, it was still a shock to hear – I didn’t realise that the older you are, the more likely you are to get it. Thanks to treatment, my tumour was successfully removed. I’m so glad I acted quickly. I would urge other women to be aware of changes to their breasts. If you notice something out of the ordinary, visit your doctor straight away.
How cancer forms
Margaret Underwood, aged 76 Supporter of Breast Cancer Care Like many women over 70, I don’t tend to look at my breasts very often. But when I spotted some changes to my breast in April 2012, I knew I needed to act quickly. One of my nipples and the skin underneath had changed, so I made an appointment to see my doctor straight away. I was sent for tests and diagnosed with breast cancer. Although I suspected cancer, it was still a shock to hear – I didn’t realise that the older you are, the more likely you are to get it. Thanks to treatment, my tumour was successfully removed. I’m so glad I acted quickly. I would urge other women to be aware of changes to their breasts. If you notice something out of the ordinary, visit your doctor straight away.
The presence of estrogen and progesterone receptors in the cancer cell is important in guiding treatment. Those who do not test positive for these specific receptors will not be able to respond to hormone therapy, and this can affect their chance of survival depending upon what treatment options remain, the exact type of cancer, and how advanced the disease is.
Because of its visibility, breast cancer was the form of cancer most often described in ancient documents. Because autopsies were rare, cancers of the internal organs were essentially invisible to ancient medicine. Breast cancer, however, could be felt through the skin, and in its advanced state often developed into fungating lesions: the tumor would become necrotic (die from the inside, causing the tumor to appear to break up) and ulcerate through the skin, weeping fetid, dark fluid.
Hopefully never have to tell my little boy…I’m BRCA2 positive and I’ll be having preventative surgery this year. This means that I will hopefully never have to tell my little boy that Mummy’s got cancer. Mummy’s having new boobies is a much easier conversation to have with a 3 year old!Amy WiltshireA chance for a lifeHaving the knowledge has given me the chance for a life, which is more than my Mum, grandmother, uncle and two cousins had.Sue Hall A little part of our mothers will always live on in us!A little part of our mothers will always live on in us! They weren’t given the same choices we have today with BRCA testing and so sadly lost their lives way too young. Knowledge is power!Nicky QuinnA huge step ahead of CancerKnowing made me stronger! Your chance to be one huge step ahead of Cancer. It gives me hope that my children won’t hear “it’s bad news ….”Cora HughesKnowledge is powerBeing aware of my BRCA status has given me the knowledge and power and tools to change my futureLois coxMy diagnosisMy BRCA1 diagnosis has given my family the power to minimise the risk of developing hereditary related cancer, like I did. Sarah KennettA mum’s giftA gift given from my mum who can no longer be here to me, she’s given me awareness of what this means to my world, my life, my family.Kelly Brawn
Breast cancer causesIt is still not clear why some women and men develop breast cancer, but a number of risk factors have been identified. Women who are told they are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer may never develop it, while others with a lower risk do. Women will be invited for breast screening from their 50s to check for early signs of breast cancer (invitations will be offered to women form age 47 in the near future). However, women thought to be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer may be screened earlier.Causes of breast cancerAmong the most significant factors are advancing age and a family history of breast cancer. Risk increases slightly for a woman who has had a benign breast lump and increases significantly for a woman who has previously had cancer of the breast or the ovaries.Breast cancer causes
Inflammatory breast cancer is a particular type of breast cancer which can pose a substantial diagnostic challenge. Symptoms may resemble a breast inflammation and may include itching, pain, swelling, nipple inversion, warmth and redness throughout the breast, as well as an orange-peel texture to the skin referred to as peau d’orange. As inflammatory breast cancer does not present as a lump there can sometimes be a delay in diagnosis.
Although breast cancer was known in ancient times, it was uncommon until the 19th century, when improvements in sanitation and control of deadly infectious diseases resulted in dramatic increases in lifespan. Previously, most women had died too young to have developed breast cancer. Additionally, early and frequent childbearing and breastfeeding probably reduced the rate of breast cancer development in those women who did survive to middle age.
Their successful work was carried on by William Stewart Halsted who started performing radical mastectomies in 1882, helped greatly by advances in general surgical technology, such as aseptic technique and anesthesia. The Halsted radical mastectomy often involved removing both breasts, associated lymph nodes, and the underlying chest muscles. This often led to long-term pain and disability, but was seen as necessary in order to prevent the cancer from recurring. Before the advent of the Halsted radical mastectomy, 20-year survival rates were only 10%; Halsted’s surgery raised that rate to 50%. Extending Halsted’s work, Jerome Urban promoted superradical mastectomies, taking even more tissue, until 1963, when the ten-year survival rates proved equal to the less-damaging radical mastectomy.
“You’ll get leaflets through your door and they will be predominantly of white, middle-class women. There’s no representation of South Asian, African descent et cetera.
A considerable part of the current knowledge on breast carcinomas is based on in vivo and in vitro studies performed with cell lines derived from breast cancers. These provide an unlimited source of homogenous self-replicating material, free of contaminating stromal cells, and often easily cultured in simple standard media. The first breast cancer cell line described, BT-20, was established in 1958. Since then, and despite sustained work in this area, the number of permanent lines obtained has been strikingly low (about 100). Indeed, attempts to culture breast cancer cell lines from primary tumors have been largely unsuccessful. This poor efficiency was often due to technical difficulties associated with the extraction of viable tumor cells from their surrounding stroma. Most of the available breast cancer cell lines issued from metastatic tumors, mainly from pleural effusions. Effusions provided generally large numbers of dissociated, viable tumor cells with little or no contamination by fibroblasts and other tumor stroma cells. Many of the currently used BCC lines were established in the late 1970s. A very few of them, namely MCF-7, T-47D, and MDA-MB-231, account for more than two-thirds of all abstracts reporting studies on mentioned breast cancer cell lines, as concluded from a Medline-based survey.
Once the tumor has been removed, if the patient desires, breast reconstruction surgery, a type of plastic surgery, may then be performed to improve the aesthetic appearance of the treated site. Alternatively, women use breast prostheses to simulate a breast under clothing, or choose a flat chest. Nipple prosthesis can be used at any time following the mastectomy.
Clinically, the most useful metabolic markers in breast cancer are the estrogen and progesterone receptors that are used to predict response to hormone therapy. New or potentially new markers for breast cancer include BRCA1 and BRCA2 to identify patients at high risk of developing breast cancer, HER-2 and SCD1 for predicting response to therapeutic regimens, and urokinase plasminogen activator, PA1-1 and SCD1 for assessing prognosis.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the recommendations, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this interactive flowchart should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.
A pink ribbon is the most prominent symbol of breast cancer awareness. Pink ribbons, which can be made inexpensively, are sometimes sold as fundraisers, much like poppies on Remembrance Day. They may be worn to honor those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, or to identify products that the manufacturer would like to sell to consumers that are interested in breast cancer.
The latest research is reported annually at scientific meetings such as that of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, and the St. Gallen Oncology Conference in St. Gallen, Switzerland. These studies are reviewed by professional societies and other organizations, and formulated into guidelines for specific treatment groups and risk category.