Breast cancer is a disease in which certain cells in the breast grow out of control and form a mass called a malignant tumor.
Men and women can be diagnosed with breast cancer.
A woman has about a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during her life. While white women are most likely to develop breast cancer, african american women are more likely to die from it. There has been significant advances in treatments against breast cancer, but there is much work to be done to protect women from the threat of this disease.
Men have a small amount of tissue where breast cancer can develop. Breast cancer in men accounts for about 1% of all breast cancers. In a recent study measuring public awareness of men on the topic of breast cancer, nearly 80% of men indicated that they were not aware that males could get breast cancer. The men in the study all had a family history of the disease.
A mammogram is specialized medical imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to see inside the breasts to screen for breast cancer and investigate lumps that can't be felt during a breast exam. A mammogram can also detect tumors or abnormal areas that are too small to be felt with the hands. A mammogram is usually performed on a man if a lump is found. Diagnostic mammograms are performed when unusual signs or symptoms in one or both breasts are present.
Clinical breast examinations are used along with mammograms to check for breast cancer. A clinical breast exam is an examination by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes. A clinical breast exam is an important part of annual routine physical checkups but may be recommended more frequently if you have a strong family history of breast cancer.
The key to breast self-awareness is knowing how your breasts normally look and feel. Breast self-exams can assist you to become familiar with what is normal for you. Try to get in the habit of doing a breast self-examination once a month, a few days after your menstrual cycle ends (when breasts aren’t as tender or swollen ). A breast self-examination is not a substitute for a mammogram. Report any changes that you notice to your health care provider.