Normally cells in our bodies grow and divide in a controlled way, but sometimes this process gets out of control. Cancer is the name for a group of diseases that develop when the body’s cells grow in an uncontrolled way and spread into the body’s tissues.
When cancer spreads into the body’s tissues, it is called invasive cancer. The site where cancer starts is called the primary cancer. Cancer that starts in the breast is called breast cancer. It can develop at any age.
Breasts are made up of small sacs and tubes called “lobules” and “ducts” surrounded by other tissues. The lobules produce breast milk, and the ducts carry the milk to the nipple (shown in the image).
All women and men have breast tissue, although the ducts and lobules essentially have no function in men.
Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of cells lining the breast ducts and lobules. 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.
Breast cancer is not one disease. There are different types and subtypes of disease that are referred to as breast cancer.
Therefore, the treatment you receive for your breast cancer may be quite different from the treatment other people you meet have. Read more about the types of breast cancer.
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Contact BCNA’s Helpline on 1800 500 258 between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm AEST Monday to Friday, for information about the services and support that may be available for you and your family.
Serena and Katriona met as nursing colleagues. They're taking on the Gold Coast double to raise funds for BCNA.
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