What Is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor developed from cells in the breast. It occurs as a result of abnormal changes or mutation in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells. Normally cells in our bodies have a life cycle, in which they are formed, grow and die. Healthy new cells replace old or dead cells. But over time and for a lot of other factors that we are going to discuss later mutations can cause changes in the genes, or activate or deactivate certain genes. So breast cancer is always caused by a mistake in the genetic material. This genetic abnormality gives the cells the ability to divide without control or order, producing other defective cells and this way forming the tumor.

What Is Breast Cancer?


A tumor can be benign when its cells are usually close to normal in appearance, grow slowly and don’t spread in other parts of the body. They form something like a lump that can only cause compression. So these kinds of tumor have to grow a lot to compress important organs nearby and to be dangerous for our health. Usually they are diagnosed before they can reach enormous sizes.
A tumor can be malign when its cells are very different from the normal cells; they are undifferentiated, and they tend to spread in the nearby tissues or in other parts of the body becoming very dangerous for our life.
Breast cancer is second in most common cancer in humans after skin cancer. It affects human and other mammals and mostly women but it also develops in men. Age is a strong risk factor for woman to develop breast cancer and most cases doesn’t run in a family bur happens by chance.
There are different types of breast cancer but it usually forms in the milk ducts that transport the milk from the nipple or in the lobules. The type of treatment for breast cancer depends on the type of cancer, size, rate of growth, stage and other characteristics. Breast cancer can be treated with:

  • Surgery- removing the tumor and all the affected tissues. Sometimes the whole removal of the breast is needed, other times just part of it. If the patient desires her/his breast can be reconstructed with cosmetic surgery
  • Drugs- including hormonal therapy or chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy- usually given after the surgery to destroy the cancer cells that may have escaped
  • Immunotherapy

Prognosis, so the outcome of the illness depends on the cancer type, age and staging. Having breast cancer doesn’t mean that necessarily someone is going to die. Survival rates have increased in the last years and the number of deaths is declining thanks to earlier detection, increase awareness and better treatments.

All that said is very important early the diagnosis of breast cancer. We are going to talk about breast cancer diagnosis in another article. This article was just to inform you and have a better understanding of breast cancer. Follow us if you want to know more.

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