What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. Breast cancer can occur in the lobules or the glands that produce milk, the ducts or tubes that carry milk to the nipple or the connective tissue holds everything in the breast together.
The most common kinds of breast cancer are:
- Invasive ductal carcinoma – the cancer cells grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma – cancer cells spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are close by. These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
In general, cancer is the leading cause of death in the world. Globally, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women. It is also the second most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the world. Breast cancer is mistakenly thought to be a disease of the developed world, but in actuality, almost 50% of breast cancer cases and 58% of deaths occur in less developed countries.
Breast cancer incidence (newly diagnosed cases per year) and survival rates vary greatly around the world. Survival rates range from 80% or over in North America, Sweden and Japan to around 60% in middle-income countries and below 40% in low-income countries. The low survival rates in less developed countries can be explained mainly by the lack of early detection programs, resulting in a high proportion of women presenting with late-stage disease, as well as by the lack of adequate diagnosis and treatment facilities.
Data Source: Coleman MP et al. (2008). Cancer survival in five continents: a worldwide population-based study (CONCORD). Lancet Oncol, 9, 730–56.
To save and celebrate the lives of those affected by and at-risk of breast cancer by providing access to education and medical and social services
- Compassion: Supporting everyone affected by breast cancer.
- Integrity: Guided by ethics in everything we do.
- Courage: Unwavering commitment to overcome challenges to achieve our mission.
- Inclusion: Intentional acceptance of diverse populations touched by breast cancer
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