Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. Nearly 75 percent of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in women age fifty and older. Although breast cancer is more common in older women, it does occur in younger women and also in men.
How is breast cancer diagnosed?
Screening tests can find cancers early, so when your physician suspects breast cancer, he or she will order a mammogram, ultrasound, or other additional testing. If an abnormal area in your breast is detected, a biopsy may be performed.
A biopsy is done by removing a small amount of tissue with a needle, or a larger amount of tissue may need to be removed during surgery. The tissue is then sent to the pathologist and a diagnosis of cancer may be confirmed at that time.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is a rare, but dangerous form of breast cancer. IBC is difficult to detect because it often lacks a distinct lump or tumor. Symptoms of IBC include swelling and redness of the breast, a sudden change in breast size (usually only on one side), unusual dimpling of the skin, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck or under the arm. These symptoms are often ignored or misdiagnosed, and this misdiagnosis can result in delayed treatment, and therefore reduce survivability.