Breast Cancer

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan.


Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women, accounting for more than 1 in 10 new cancer diagnoses each year. It is the second most common cause of death from cancer among women in the world. Anatomically, the breast has milk-producing glands in front of the chest wall. They lie on the pectoralis major muscle, and there are ligaments support the breast and attach it to the chest wall. Fifteen to 20 lobes circularly arranged to form the breast. The fat that covers the lobes determines the breast size and shape. Each lobe is formed by lobules containing the glands responsible for milk production in response to hormone stimulation. Breast cancer always evolves silently. Most of the patients discover their disease during their routine screening. Others may present with an accidentally discovered breast lump, change of breast shape or size, or nipple discharge. However, mastalgia is not uncommon. Physical examination, imaging, especially mammography, and tissue biopsy must be done to diagnose breast cancer. The survival rate improves with early diagnosis. The tumor tends to spread lymphatically and hematologically, leading to distant metastasis and poor prognosis. This explains and emphasizes the importance of breast cancer screening programs.

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