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A Little Breast Cancer 101

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Editor’s Note: All information in this post is from The Susan G. Komen for the Cure web site. I am not a doctor, I am only passing on information from a credible site. Please seek a medical professional if you have any questions or concerns.

According to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure web site, Breast cancer is a type of cancer where cells in the breast divide and grow without normal control. Between 50 and 75 percent of breast cancers begin in the ducts, 10 to 15 percent begin in the lobules and a few begin in other breast tissues.

Tumors in the breast tend to grow slowly. By the time a lump is large enough to feel, it may have been growing for as long as 10 years. However, some tumors are aggressive and grow much more rapidly.

It is important to understand the difference between invasive breast cancer and non-invasive breast cancer, called ductal carcinoma in situ (kar-sin-O-ma in SY-too). Click here to find out more. 

Breast self-exam (BSE) is not recommended as a screening tool for breast cancer. However, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® recommends that you become familiar with the way your breasts normally look and feel. Knowing what is normal for you may help you see or feel changes in your breast.

Warning signs of breast cancer

If you notice any of the warning signs of breast cancer listed below, see your health care provider.

    • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
    • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
    • Change in the size or shape of the breast
    • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
    • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
    • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
    • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
    • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

If you feel a lump in your breast, do not panic. Most lumps are not breast cancer, but something less serious, like a benign breast condition (more on benign breast conditions).

Some lumps will go away on their own. Often, they are related to your menstrual period and will go away by the end of your cycle. However, it is best to see your health care provider just to be sure.

Please remember this post is not to scare you, but make you more aware of this disease. Let’s be vigilant and more aware of our health. Early detection and screening is key!!

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