A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE
About Breast Cancer Bookmark and Share

About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is classified based on where in the breast the disease started and how the disease grows.
 
  • Non-invasive or in situ breast cancer: Also known as “Stage 0” breast cancer, the abnormal cells stay within the breast duct, lobule or nipple and do not invade surrounding tissues. However, in situ breast cancers can become invasive in the future.
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma: This is the most common type of breast cancer, beginning in the lining of the milk ducts (thin tubes that carry milk from the lobules of the breast to the nipple).
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma: This cancer originates in the lobules (milk glands) of the breast. It is found in both breasts more often than other types of breast cancer.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer: In this uncommon type of cancer, the breast becomes red, swollen and tender with an orange peel-like skin texture.
  • Recurrent breast cancer: This is cancer that returns after it has been treated. It may come back in the breast or in other parts of the body.
  • Metastatic breast cancer: This is a breast cancer that has spread to sites and organs outside the breast and regional lymph nodes.
 
Breast cancers are also classified by the receptors on their cell surface, such as estrogen, progesterone and HER2 receptors. The presence or absence of these receptors can guide treatment planning by indicating whether the cancer is sensitive or resistant to hormone and drug therapies.

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Symptoms of breast cancer can include:
 
  • A lump or mass in the breast, particularly those that are painless and firm with irregular edges
  • Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the breast area

If your or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, please contact a physician for further evaluation.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Risk factors associated with breast cancer include the following:
 
  • Age: Your risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older, and half of all breast cancers are diagnosed in women older than 60.
  • Reproductive and menstrual history: Women who have never had a full-term pregnancy or who had their first after age 30 are at higher risk. Women who started menstruating before age 12 or who went through menopause after 55 are also at increased risk.
  • Breast density: Women with denser breasts are more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Obesity: Being obese (having a body mass index of 30 or higher) increases your risk of breast cancer.
  • Alcohol: Excessive alcohol use — two or more drinks daily — is associated with a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Physical Activity: Women who are sedentary or physically inactive have an elevated breast cancer risk.
  • Family history: Having a close blood relative such as a mother or sister who has had breast or ovarian cancer can increase your risk.
  • Personal history: Women who have had breast cancer have a slightly greater chance of developing another breast cancer.
  • Inherited factors: In some families, genetic mutations — such as those in the BRCA genes — may make some women more susceptible to developing breast cancer.
  • Radiation therapy: Women, who have had radiation to the chest area, particularly before age 30, may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Hormone therapy: Menopause hormone therapy combining estrogen and progesterone for more than five years is associated with an increased risk.
 
Note that many women may have one or more of these risk factors and never get breast cancer. Likewise, women (and men) may develop breast cancer without having any risk factors. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have an elevated risk of breast cancer, please consult with a doctor on preventive and early detection measures that are available.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or are looking for a  second opinion consultation about your treatment, find out more about  becoming a patient or contact us at 800-826-HOPE.

Sources: American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute

About Breast Cancer

About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is classified based on where in the breast the disease started and how the disease grows.
 
  • Non-invasive or in situ breast cancer: Also known as “Stage 0” breast cancer, the abnormal cells stay within the breast duct, lobule or nipple and do not invade surrounding tissues. However, in situ breast cancers can become invasive in the future.
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma: This is the most common type of breast cancer, beginning in the lining of the milk ducts (thin tubes that carry milk from the lobules of the breast to the nipple).
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma: This cancer originates in the lobules (milk glands) of the breast. It is found in both breasts more often than other types of breast cancer.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer: In this uncommon type of cancer, the breast becomes red, swollen and tender with an orange peel-like skin texture.
  • Recurrent breast cancer: This is cancer that returns after it has been treated. It may come back in the breast or in other parts of the body.
  • Metastatic breast cancer: This is a breast cancer that has spread to sites and organs outside the breast and regional lymph nodes.
 
Breast cancers are also classified by the receptors on their cell surface, such as estrogen, progesterone and HER2 receptors. The presence or absence of these receptors can guide treatment planning by indicating whether the cancer is sensitive or resistant to hormone and drug therapies.

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Symptoms of breast cancer can include:
 
  • A lump or mass in the breast, particularly those that are painless and firm with irregular edges
  • Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the breast area

If your or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, please contact a physician for further evaluation.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Risk factors associated with breast cancer include the following:
 
  • Age: Your risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older, and half of all breast cancers are diagnosed in women older than 60.
  • Reproductive and menstrual history: Women who have never had a full-term pregnancy or who had their first after age 30 are at higher risk. Women who started menstruating before age 12 or who went through menopause after 55 are also at increased risk.
  • Breast density: Women with denser breasts are more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Obesity: Being obese (having a body mass index of 30 or higher) increases your risk of breast cancer.
  • Alcohol: Excessive alcohol use — two or more drinks daily — is associated with a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Physical Activity: Women who are sedentary or physically inactive have an elevated breast cancer risk.
  • Family history: Having a close blood relative such as a mother or sister who has had breast or ovarian cancer can increase your risk.
  • Personal history: Women who have had breast cancer have a slightly greater chance of developing another breast cancer.
  • Inherited factors: In some families, genetic mutations — such as those in the BRCA genes — may make some women more susceptible to developing breast cancer.
  • Radiation therapy: Women, who have had radiation to the chest area, particularly before age 30, may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Hormone therapy: Menopause hormone therapy combining estrogen and progesterone for more than five years is associated with an increased risk.
 
Note that many women may have one or more of these risk factors and never get breast cancer. Likewise, women (and men) may develop breast cancer without having any risk factors. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have an elevated risk of breast cancer, please consult with a doctor on preventive and early detection measures that are available.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or are looking for a  second opinion consultation about your treatment, find out more about  becoming a patient or contact us at 800-826-HOPE.

Sources: American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute
Quick Links
Breast Cancer Videos
Get Involved
Join thousands and walk for women’s cancers, women’s cures, on Nov. 2, 2014 in Los Angeles. Event details »
Join our giving circle and help decide which breast cancer research programs to fund. Read more »
 
Low-dose Tamoxifen for Radiation-Induced Breast Cancer Risk Reduction Trial
 
A clinical research study is currently underway to see if low-dose tamoxifen can reduce the risk of breast cancer in childhood, adolescent, and young adulthood cancer survivors.
The Positive Image Center is where licensed cosmetologists support and assist patients with building and maintaining self-confidence in their appearance. Patients can access wig fittings and stylings and discuss cosmetic techniques.
 
Cooper Finkel Women’s Health Center
Many gynecological cancer and breast cancer  services at City of Hope are provided at the Rita Cooper Finkel and J. William Finkel Women's Health Center. Here, women receive the highest quality care, whether seeking prevention and screening services or coping with a cancer diagnosis.


NEWS & UPDATES
  • Patients undergoing treatment at City of Hope know they will be receiving the best medical care available, that their treatment will be delivered with compassion and that their care will extend to their families. “When we treat a patient here, we treat a family,” says Jo Ann S. Namm, child life manager and spec...
  • Did you know that colorectal cancer equally affects men and women? Or that it’s the third-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.? Most important, did you know that colorectal cancer is very treatable and highly curable if detected early? If you didn’t know these facts, it’s time to learn. M...
  • To celebrate the beginning of Lunar New  Year 2015, City of Hope honored not just a new lunar calendar, but also the diversity of the community it serves. On Jan. 21, as tens of thousands of people celebrated Lunar New Year (and the arrival of the Year of the Ram) in the streets of L.A.’s Chinatown, City of [&#...
  • The breakthroughs that have revolutionized cancer treatment, transforming cancer in many cases to a very manageable and even curable disease, started out as just ideas. “I will often tell patients there’s no therapy we’re using to help them that wasn’t derived from somebody’s idea in some laboratory, working la...
  • The prostate cancer screening debate, at least as it relates to regular assessment of prostate specific antigen levels, is far from over. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against routine PSA screening for prostate cancer in 2012, maintaining that the routine use of the PSA blood test does mor...
  • Cancer patients should get more than medical treatment. They should get comprehensive, evidence-based care that addresses their full range of needs. That kind of patient-focused care is City of Hope’s specialty. Under the guidance of Dawn Gross, M.D., Ph.D., the new Arthur M. Coppola Family Chair in Suppo...
  • Think twice before tossing out those hormone replacement pills. Although a new Lancet study suggests that hormone replacement therapy could increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer, a City of Hope expert urges women to keep this news in perspective. Hormone replacement therapy is prescribed to help allev...
  • Don’t know what to take, or send, that friend of yours in the hospital? Try a paper plate — filled not with cookies or sweets, but an image of yourself. Ilana Massi, currently undergoing treatment at City of Hope for acute myeloid leukemia, can vouch for the power of such a gift. She’s surrounded herself [̷...
  • With precision medicine now a national priority, City of Hope has joined a novel research partnership designed to further understanding of cancer at the molecular level, ultimately leading to more targeted cancer treatments. The Oncology Research Information Exchange Network, or ORIEN, is the world’s larg...
  • The spinal cord is an integral part of the human body, connecting the brain to everything else. So when a tumor grows on the spine, any messages that the brain tries to send to the rest of the body are interrupted, making everyday tasks — such as walking — more difficult. This year an estimated 22,850 […]
  • Each year, thousands of patients with hematologic malignancies undergo allogeneic stem cell transplantation (that is, they receive a donor’s stem cells), offering them a chance at cure. Graft-versus-host disease is a potentially deadly complication of this therapy and occurs in approximately 25 to 60 perc...
  • Bertram Yuh, M.D., assistant clinical professor in the Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology at City of Hope, offers his perspective on the benefits of surgery for aggressive prostate cancer. For men walking out of the doctor’s office after a diagnosis of cancer, the reality can hit like a ton of bricks. Th...
  • Although many Hispanic women face a high risk of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes – increasing their risk of breast and ovarian cancer – screenings for these mutations can be prohibitively expensive in Mexico and other Latin American countries. As a result, too many women don’t get the information t...
  • Providing lung cancer treatments to patients when their cancer is at its earliest and most treatable stages will now be a more attainable goal: Medicare has agreed to cover lung cancer screening for those beneficiaries who meet the requirements. The only proven way to detect lung cancer early enough to save liv...
  • At City of Hope, innovative scientific research, important clinical studies and vital construction projects are all powered by philanthropy. Generous supporters fuel a powerful and diverse range of progress in science and medicine, enabling researchers and clinicians to improve cancer treatments and create cure...