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Breast Cancer Health Center

Medical Reference Related to Breast Cancer

  1. Breast Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI] - General Information About Breast Cancer

    Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast.The breast is made up of lobes and ducts. Each breast has 15 to 20 sections called lobes, which have many smaller sections called lobules. Lobules end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can make milk. The lobes, lobules, and bulbs are linked by thin tubes called ducts.Anatomy of the female breast. The nipple and areola are shown on the outside of the breast. The lymph nodes, lobes, lobules, ducts, and other parts of the inside of the breast are also shown.Each breast also has blood vessels and lymph vessels. The lymph vessels carry an almost colorless fluid called lymph. Lymph vessels lead to organs called lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures that are found throughout the body. They filter lymph and store white blood cells that help fight infection and disease. Clusters of lymph nodes are found near the breast in the axilla (under the arm), above the collarbone, and in the

  2. Breast Cancer Treatment and Pregnancy (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Late Stage Breast Cancer (Stage III and IV)

    First-trimester radiation therapy should be avoided. Chemotherapy may be given after the first trimester as discussed in the section on Early Stage Breast Cancer. Because the mother may have a limited life span (most studies show a 5-year survival rate of 10% in pregnant patients with stage III and IV disease), and there is a risk of fetal damage with treatment during the first trimester,[1,2] issues regarding continuation of the pregnancy should be discussed with the patient and her family. Therapeutic abortion does not improve prognosis.[1,2,3,4,5]References: Hoover HC Jr: Breast cancer during pregnancy and lactation. Surg Clin North Am 70 (5): 1151-63, 1990. Rugo HS: Management of breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy. Curr Treat Options Oncol 4 (2): 165-73, 2003. Gwyn K, Theriault R: Breast cancer during pregnancy. Oncology (Huntingt) 15 (1): 39-46; discussion 46, 49-51, 2001. Clark RM, Chua T: Breast cancer and pregnancy: the ultimate challenge. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 1

  3. Breast Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Health Professional Information [NCI] - About This PDQ Summary

    Call 1-800-4-CANCERFor more information, U.S. residents may call the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. A trained Cancer Information Specialist is available to answer your questions.Chat online The NCI's LiveHelp® online chat service provides Internet users with the ability to chat online with an Information Specialist. The service is available from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. Information Specialists can help Internet users find information on NCI Web sites and answer questions about cancer. Write to usFor more information from the NCI, please write to this address:NCI Public Inquiries Office9609 Medical Center Dr. Room 2E532 MSC 9760Bethesda, MD 20892-9760Search the NCI Web siteThe NCI Web site provides online access to information on cancer, clinical trials, and other Web sites and organizations that offer support

  4. Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Special Populations

    Individuals With Little to Gain from ScreeningWomen with limited life expectancyAchieving balance between the benefits and harms of screening is especially important for women with a life expectancy of 5 years or less. Such women might have end-stage renal disease, severe dementia, terminal cancer, or severe comorbid disease with functional dependencies in activities of daily living. Early cancer detection and prompt treatment are unlikely to reduce morbidity or mortality within a woman's 5 years of expected survival, but the negative consequences of screening will occur immediately. Abnormal screening may trigger additional testing, with the attendant anxiety. In particular, the detection of a low-risk malignancy would probably result in a recommendation for treatment, which could impair rather than improve quality of life, without improving survival. Despite these considerations, many women with poor life expectancy due to age or health status often undergo screening

  5. Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer (PDQ®): Genetics - Health Professional Information [NCI] - High-Penetrance Breast and / or Ovarian Cancer Susceptibility Genes

    BRCA1andBRCA2IntroductionEpidemiologic studies have clearly established the role of family history as an important risk factor for both breast and ovarian cancer. After gender and age, a positive family history is the strongest known predictive risk factor for breast cancer. However, it has long been recognized that in some families, there is hereditary breast cancer, which is characterized by an early age of onset, bilaterality, and the presence of breast cancer in multiple generations in an apparent autosomal dominant pattern of transmission (through either the maternal or paternal lineage), sometimes including tumors of other

  6. Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI] - nci_ncicdr0000257995-nci-header

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http://cancer.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.Breast Cancer Screening

  7. Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI] - Questions or Comments About This Summary

    If you have questions or comments about this summary, please send them to Cancer.gov through the Web site's Contact Form. We can respond only to email messages written in English.

  8. Get More Information From NCI

    Purpose of This SummaryThis PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the treatment of breast cancer. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions.Reviewers and UpdatesThis summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Board members review recently published articles each month to determine whether an article should:be discussed at a meeting,be cited with text, orreplace or update an existing article that is already cited.Changes to the summaries are made through a consensus process in which

  9. Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Breast Cancer Screening Modalities—Beyond Mammography

    Clinical Breast ExaminationNo randomized trials of clinical breast examination (CBE) as a sole screening modality have yet been reported. The Canadian National Breast Screening Study (NBSS) compared high-quality CBE plus mammography to CBE alone in women aged 50 to 59 years (refer to the Clinical Breast Examination section in the Overview section of this summary for more information). CBE, lasting 5 to 10 minutes per breast, was conducted by trained health professionals, with periodic evaluations of performance quality. The frequency of cancer diagnosis, stage, interval cancers, and breast cancer mortality were similar in the two groups and compared favorably with other trials of mammography alone, perhaps because of the careful training and supervision of the health professionals performing CBE.[1] Breast cancer mortality with follow-up 11 to 16 years after entry (mean = 13 years) was similar in the two screening arms (mortality rate ratio, 1.02 [95% confidence interval

  10. Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology

    Evaluation of Breast SymptomsWomen with breast symptoms are not candidates for screening because they require a diagnostic evaluation. During a 10-year period, 16% of 2,400 women aged 40 to 69 years sought medical attention for breast symptoms at their health maintenance organization.[1] Women younger than 50 years were twice as likely to seek evaluation. Additional testing was performed in 66% of these women, including invasive procedures performed in 27%. Cancer was diagnosed in 6.2%, most often stage II or III. Of the breast symptoms prompting medical attention, a mass was most likely to lead to a cancer diagnosis (10.7%) and pain was least likely (1.8%) to do so.Pathologic Diagnosis of Breast CancerBreast cancer is most often diagnosed by pathologic review of a fixed specimen of breast tissue. The breast tissue can be obtained from a symptomatic area or from an area identified by an imaging test. A palpable lesion can be biopsied with core needle biopsy or, less often, fine-needle

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