While many women go to the doctor after finding a lump, every woman should also be aware of other changes to the breast or nipple. For example, invasive ductal carcinoma IDC , which forms in the milk ducts, may cause a distinct breast lump that you can feel. Invasive lobular carcinoma ILC , which forms in milk-producing glands, may cause a thickening in the breast. Symptoms of breast tumors vary from person to person.
Cancer occurs when changes called mutations take place in genes that regulate cell growth. The mutations let the cells divide and multiply in an uncontrolled way. Breast cancer is cancer that develops in breast cells. Typically, the cancer forms in either the lobules or the ducts of the breast. Lobules are the glands that produce milk, and ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple.
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. So it's important to check your breasts regularly and see your GP if you notice a change. Checking your breasts only takes a few minutes.
Each breast contains 15 to 20 lobes of glandular tissue, arranged like the petals of a daisy. The lobes are further divided into smaller lobules that produce milk for breast-feeding. Small tubes ducts conduct the milk to a reservoir that lies just beneath your nipple. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States.