What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer forms in the tissues of the breast and can occur in both men and women, although it is rare in men. More than 230,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year.

There are many different types, including:

  • Ductal Carcinoma Insitu – This is a non-invasive form, often considered a pre-cancer. Abnormal cells may be present in the lining of the breast duct, but have not spread beyond the duct to surrounding tissue. This is typically diagnosed on screening mammograms.
  • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma – The most common type of breast cancer among women and forms in the tubes that carry milk in the breast. In its earliest forms it is usually diagnosed on screening mammograms, but may also present as a palpable mass.
  • Invasive Lobular Carcinoma – This type forms in the glands or lobules of the breast.
  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer – Grows in sheets instead of lumps, and resembles a rash. Symptoms of this type of cancer include a sudden increase in breast size, continuous itching in the skin of the breast, the breast is excessively warm to the touch, or harder or firmer than usual and a change in skin texture becomes similar to the skin of an orange. This type of cancer presents with physical findings that bring a person to seek medical attention.

Updated June 3, 2015