What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of the breast tissue.  The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but this can also happen in men (although it is very rare; with less than 400 cases per year in the UK).

There are several different types of breast cancer including Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), Invasive breast cancer and HER2 positive breast cancer to name as few and your consultant will help you to choose the most appropriate treatment for your cancer type.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease of the body’s cells. The human body is made up of many different types of cells and therefore cancer is not a single disease with a single cause or treatment. There are more than 200 different types of cancer, each with their own diagnostic procedures and treatments. 

Normal cells in the body divide in a uniformed and controlled way.  When cells begin to grow out of control they divide and grow into a lump also known as a tumour. Tumours are either benign or malignant.  Tests such as blood tests, biopsies and diagnostic investigations can all be used to determine the type of tumour.

In a benign tumour, the cells do not spread to other parts of the body and so are not cancerous.

In a malignant tumour, the cancer cells have the ability to spread beyond the original area of the body.