Women in the U.S. have a 1 in 8 chance of developing an invasive form of breast cancer during their lifetime. When breast cancer is invasive, it starts in the breast ducts or glands but grows into breast tissue. It can then spread into the nearby lymph nodes and beyond.
There are effective treatments. Your own treatment will depend on what type you have and how much and where your cancer has spread. You’ll work together with your doctor to come up with a plan that's best for you.
"You have breast cancer."
This year, nearly 250,000 women in the U.S. will hear those words.
Last year, Zunilda Guzman was one of them.
"I was devastated," says Guzman, 39. "I wanted the world to end."
But Guzman, mother to a 9-year-old daughter, knew she couldn't let that happen. And neither did any of the other nine breast cancer survivors interviewed by WebMD as part of a special project for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Their stories relay important messages about prevention, screening,...
Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). This is the most common type, making up about 80%. With IDC, cancer cells start in a milk duct, break through the walls, and invade breast tissue. It can remain localized, which means it stays near the site where the tumor started. Or cancer cells may spread anywhere in the body.
Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC). This type accounts for about 10% of invasive breast cancers. ILC starts in the lobules or milk glands and then spreads. With ILC, most women feel a thickening instead of a lump in their breast.
Some women may have a combination of both.
What are the signs of invasive breast cancer?
Breast cancer may have no signs or symptoms, especially during the early stages. As the cancer grows, you may notice one or more of the following:
A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that continues after your monthly menstrual cycle
A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea
A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast