What You Need to Know About Breast CancerThe human body is made of tiny building blocks called cells. Your body creates them, replacing those that die with new ones. Usually, the body creates healthy, normal cells that do just what they're supposed to do. This includes cells in the breasts, the two rounded areas on the front of the chest.
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Breast cancer is a kind of tumor that develops in the cells of a person's breast. You may think that only women can get breast cancer, but because all people have breast tissue, men can get breast cancer as well — though this is very rare.
A tumor can form anywhere in the body. Someone has cancer when those abnormal cells will not stop growing, and then cause sickness in the body.
Someone with breast cancer may have cancer cells in just one part of the breast, which might be felt as a lump. The cancer can spread throughout one or both breasts. Sometimes breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, like the bones, the liver, or elsewhere.
Any woman can get breast cancer, but doctors have found that certain factors make some women more likely to get it.
- Family history: A woman whose mother, sister, aunt, or daughter has had breast cancer is more likely to get breast cancer.
- Age: As women get older, they are more at risk for breast cancer. Teens — as well as women in their twenties and thirties — are less likely to get breast cancer.
- Diet and lifestyle choices: Women who smoke, eat high-fat diets, drink alcohol, and don't get enough exercise may be more at risk for developing breast cancer.
Most breast lumps are not cancer, but all lumps should be checked out by a doctor to be sure. Breast lumps that are not cancer may be scar tissue or cysts (fluid-filled lumps or sacs) or they can be due to normal breast changes associated with hormone changes or aging.
Girls who are beginning puberty might notice a lump underneath the nipple when their breasts start developing. Usually, this is a normal. You can ask a parent or your doctor about it to be sure.