Cancer is an uncontrolled and uncoordinated growth of cells which has capacity to invade surrounding structures and spread to distant organs in the body.These abnormal cells cannot perform normal functions like the normal cells of human body and inturn disturb the normal functioning of the organ from which they arise and also of the organs to which they spread.The resultant spectrum of disease caused by such abnormal growth of cells is called cancer.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple (ductal cancers)
Some start in the glands that make breast milk (lobular cancers). Cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control and usually form a tumor that can be felt as a lump in the breast.
It’s important to understand that not all breast lumps are cancerous (malignant). Non-cancerous breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast and are not life-threatening, but some types of benign breast lumps can increase a woman's risk of getting breast cancer. On the other hand, malignant breast tumors have the ability to spread outside of the breast and can affect any organ of the body and can be life-threatening if not detected early. Hence any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care professional/Oncologist to determine if it is benign or malignant (cancer) and if it might affect your future cancer risk.
Symptoms of breast cancer
1) New development of a lump in the breast
2) Change in the size of the breast
3) Inward pulling/ retraction of the nipple
4) Bloody discharge from a nipple
5) Thickening or puckering of skin to form an orange peel-like appearance
6) Any swelling in axilla/armpits

If you or any of your close ones have such kind of symptoms, please do not neglect it and visit your nearest doctor/oncologist at the earliest and get yourself examined.
Breast cancer can be diagnosed at the earliest stage by undergoing simple screening tests

1) Self-breast examination- A simple examination of one's breast and axilla once a month will help you detect any new swelling or changes in the breast which will help you to seek medical help at the earliest. The self-breast examination is recommended once a month by every female after the age of 21 years
2) Clinical breast examination- It may be prudent to see your family physician/surgeon/gynecologist for a proper clinical breast examination once in 6 months as a part of a routine check-up. Doctors being trained are more likely to pick up suspicious abnormalities earlier than you!
3) Screening mammography- Screening mammography is an X-ray of the breast which helps to detect the earliest possible cancerous changes in the breast. Screening mammography is recommended for all females once every year after the age of 40 years.
These simple screening methods if followed up well will help to detect breast cancer at the earliest stage and help to achieve a cure.
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