About Breast Cancer
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Almost every woman in the United States knows about breast cancer and knows someone who's had breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 200,000 cases of invasive breast cancer occur annually in the United States, and breast cancer claims about 40,000 lives a year, making it the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
However, there is good news. Ongoing developments in early detection and treatment therapies mean that many more women are surviving breast cancer today. According to the American Cancer Society, female breast cancer incidence rates decreased by about 2% per year from 1998 to 2007, and death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990.
Breast cancer occurs when cells within the tissues of the breast multiply abnormally and form tumors, which can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). The most common types of breast cancers are ductal carcinoma, which starts in the tubes (ducts) that move milk from the breast to the nipple, and lobular carcinoma, which starts in the breast's lobules that produce milk. In addition, breast cancer can be invasive, which means it has spread from the milk duct or lobule to other breast tissues, or noninvasive (in situ), which means that it has not yet spread.
Research studies into the causes, prevention and treatment of breast cancer are being performed in medical centers across the country, including the Maimonides Breast Center. Researchers are looking into new imaging methods, chemotherapy drugs, surgical techniques, radiation delivery methods and much more in an ongoing effort to improve care for breast cancer patients now and well into the future.