Breast cancer is not one disease, but a range of different types and subtypes of disease that are referred to as “breast cancer”. Breast cancer is different for each person. Therefore, the treatment you have for breast cancer may be quite different from the treatment other people have.
Cancer is the name for a group of diseases that develop when the body’s cells grow in an uncontrolled way that can spread into the body’s tissues. Cancer that starts in the breast is called "breast cancer".
Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of cells that begins in the lining of the breast ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (milk-producing glands). Less commonly breast cancer can begin in the fatty or connective tissues of the breast. The cells grow uncontrollably and over time, can spread into surrounding breast tissue. This is called "invasive" breast cancer. It has the potential to spread to other parts of the body.
While breast cancer is most common in women, it also affects a small number of men each year.
There are several different types and subtypes of breast cancer. Breast cancer can be diagnosed at different stages and can grow at different rates. The type of breast cancer you have been diagnosed with will help you and your doctor decide on the best treatment options for you.
Read more about types and subtypes of breast cancer.
After you have been diagnosed with breast cancer your treating team will discuss with you your treatment options. Because breast cancer is made up of many different kinds of cancer cells it requires different types of treatments. There are a number of treatment options for breast cancer. These include:
Your treating team will work with you to develop an individual treatment plan.
Read more about treatments for breast cancer.
After a diagnosis of breast cancer, it’s quite normal to find yourself thinking carefully about your health, your body and your wellbeing.
The diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can affect how you feel about yourself and your sexuality. Ultimately, looking after your emotional and physical health can help keep you energised and focused as you complete your treatment.
On a practical level you will find there may be many things to juggle. From finances and insurance to make choices about work, there are likely to be lots of changes. If you live in a rural or remote part of Australia, there may be additional challenges for you to consider around access to resources, travelling for treatment, and spending time away from home.
BCNA offers a wide range of information about breast cancer, including a Health and Wellbeing hub, with information on the following aspects of living well with and beyond breast cancer:
It is important to know there are a range of supports available to help you. Talk to your treating team for more information or call the BCNA Helpline on 1800 500 258.
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