Breast Cancer

There are at least 15 different types of breast cancer that are known, which one is present is dependent on a number of factors including where the cancer is located. All of them have different rates of growth and a variety of tendancies to spread to other areas of the body (metastasize).

Breast cancer is the development of abnormal cells within the breast tissue, which form a lump or a tumour. It is malignant and is believed to affect around 26,000 women in the UK each year, and over 200,000 women in the USA. (

It is normally detected when a woman notices a lump in her breast, however it is important to remember that around 90% of all breast lumps are benign. Other signs of a developing cancer can include: changes in the shape or size of the breast, swellings in the armpit and upper arm, changes to the nipples and the skin of the breast.

It is recommended that women check their breasts at least once a month, as they do this they get used to what a normal breast feels like and can then spot any changes more readily.

There is a genetic link with breast cancer, and women who have a close female relative who has had the disease are more likely to suffer from it themselves. Two genes in particular have been identified in recent years. Other women at risk include:

  • those who have had a previous history of benign breast lumps
  • those who have not had children
  • women over the age of 40
  • women who are white
  • those that eat a high fat, high protein and low carbohydrate diet are also more at risk
  • there is some indication that the use of HRT can also increase your risk.

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