WHAT IS BREAST CANCER?
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. The damaged cells can invade surrounding tissue, but with early detection and treatment, most people continue a normal life.
FACTS ABOUT BREAST CANCER IN THE UNITED STATES
• One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
• Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
• Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.
• Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
• Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year.
Symptoms and Signs
Every person should know the symptoms and signs of breast cancer, and any time an abnormality is discovered, it should be investigated by a healthcare professional.
Most people who have breast cancer symptoms and signs will initially notice only one or two, and the presence of these symptoms and signs do not automatically mean that you have breast cancer.
By performing monthly breast self exams, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breast. Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual.
A CHANGE IN HOW THE BREAST OR NIPPLE FEELS
• Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
• A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast (some describe this as similar to an orange peel’s texture)
• A lump in the breast (It’s important to remember that all lumps should be investigated by a healthcare professional, but not all lumps are cancerous.)
A CHANGE IN THE BREAST OR NIPPLE APPEARANCE
• Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast
• Dimpling anywhere on the breast
• Unexplained swelling of the breast (especially if on one side only)
• Unexplained shrinkage of the breast (especially if on one side only)
• Recent asymmetry of the breasts (Although it is common for women to have one breast that is slightly larger than the other, if the onset of asymmetry is recent, it should be checked.)
• Nipple that is turned slightly inward or inverted
• Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange

ANY NIPPLE DISCHARGE—PARTICULARLY CLEAR DISCHARGE OR BLOODY DISCHARGE
It is also important to note that a milky discharge that is present when a woman is not breastfeeding should be checked by her doctor, although it is not linked with breast cancer.

*http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/